The roots of Jehovah's Judge

by BeelzeDub 8 Replies latest social family

  • BeelzeDub

    When J. F. Rutherford was President of the WTS, he spoke at Bible Conventions and on recordings with great authority. Rutherford frequently denounced Governments and Churches as an “Abomination of Desolation”.

    J.F. Rutherford would have his followers believe that he had a direct link with God and it was he who authorized him to speak with such authority on his behalf. One might look a little closer to home as to where Joe learned to speak with such a voice of authority.

    Rutherford was raised on a farm in a rural area in Morgan County Missouri, USA.

    Growing up, he attending the Freedom Baptist Church. This Southern Baptist church was located less than one mile from the Rutherford farm. In those days before the invention of automobiles, the church would have been the main center of activities outside the home.

    A review of the church records from 1870 through 1890 show that the Rutherford family were active members of the Church during this time period. 1

    The two male siblings who were active in church, were Joe Rutherford and his older brother whose name was Will. Will was 5 years older than Joe and both boys are listed as “Male Scholars” of the “Freedom Baptist Church Sunday School” dated 1882. 2

    According to Church records, in March, 1883 Will Rutherford was received into the fellowship of the church. He would have been around 18 years of age at this time and Joe would have been around 13 years old.

    On January 1, 1885 Will Rutherford was disfellowshiped (“excluded”) from the Church. His sin?

    The church meeting minutes from this month and year state:

    “ … and that the hand of fellowship be withdrawn of Bro Will Rutherford on the charges of dancing.” 1 (January 1885)

    This poor guy probably went out for a new years eve celebration, danced, then got the hammer the very next day.

    The reverend of the church when Will was “excluded” or disfellowshiped was Jehu Robinson.

    Jehu Robinson

    A Biography of Rev. Robinson states:

    “He was a Baptist preacher of considerable force and influence. He was perhaps the best known Baptist preacher in the country. He served nearly every Baptist church in Morgan county and did much good in his day that will last till the judgement day. Brother Robinson’s grand old body lies buried in the Freedom cemetery, four miles north of Versailles.” 3 [bold mine]

    Church records show that disfellowshiping offenses included dancing, drinking, and attending churches of another faith. Often three brethren were chosen to investigate when “rules of decorum” were violated. (sound familiar?) In one case a brethren was charged with ”making a purchase under false pretense” (whatever that means), but moved away to Texas shortly after. After two years of not being able to track him down they decided to “exclude” disfellowship him from the church. 1

    There is no doubt that J.F. Rutherford grew up with a first hand view of a heavy-handed authority of the church he attended. At a young impressionable age for Joe, this was likely a learned trait.

    It should be noted that the official policy of disfellowshiping by the WTS did not start until after the judge joined the great prophets of old at that big mansion in the sky. However the groundwork was certainly laid by Rutherford many years earlier by removing any who did not agree with him and denouncing those as “evil slaves” destine for “destruction.” (WT 1930, p. 275-281)

    The question could be asked, was J.F. Rutherford a Baptist Preaching waiting to come out? If you have ever listened to one of Rutherford’s recordings, denouncing with considerable force and influence the Catholic Church and Governments as an “Abomination of Destruction” and "offspring of Satan", the similarities are striking.

    1. R418 Freedom Baptist Church Records, 1844-1962 – Western Historical Manuscript Collection – University of Missouri, Columbia

    2. Some Morgan County, Missouri Cemetery Inscriptions – Office of Secretary of State Missouri State Archives P66-A

    3. Morgan County History – Published by the Morgan County Historical Society, Versailles, Missouri

  • Euphemism

    Fascinating! That certainly does explain his rhetorical style.

    If I may ask, BeelzeDub, how did you come across that info? It sounds like you're researching a book.

  • Latin assassin from Manhattan
    Latin assassin from Manhattan

    Speaking about dancing, have you ever read the Watchtower article where it says that dancing 'The Twist' is immoral? It was an old article written in the 50s when Chubby Checker was a huge hit. It's strange because I've never seen a witness dance the twist, yet I've seen every other one dance the MACARENA, SALSA, MERENGUE, DANCE HALL REGGAE with no shame whatsoever. Mind you, Latin dance music is steeped in pagan religous tradition.

    It never stopped me though, when I saw a hot sis waiting to get her salsa on, I was sure to drop my plate and start shakin my bon bon!

  • BeelzeDub

    Hello Eupemism,

    My interest in Rutherford's early days was sparked after reading the inset on page 67 titled "J.F. Rutherford's Background" of the Proclaimers of God's Kingdom book published by the WTS.

    I began doing some research and found that little was known about Rutherford's early days. Since I lived very close to where Rutherford was raised, went to school and practiced law before becoming legal counsel for the WTS in 1907, (The first 38 years of his life) I began doing some of my own research.

    Information about his family was obtained through Federal census records, geneology and public marriage records. Some info was found by internet research and then verified through documents and publications from several historical libraries and state archives in my area.

    I am currently researching his education.

    Glad you found the information of interest. I am not writing a book but do it more as a hobby since I am fortunate enough to live close to some excelent libraries and archives in Missouri.



  • Euphemism

    That's a great hobby! I do hope that you publish your findings, on the Web or in some other medium.

  • joannadandy

    Really REALLY interesting stuff Beelze!

    I have to agree with should at least publish it on the any case, please keep the info coming here. I love reading about the "founding fathers".

  • Mr. Kim
    Mr. Kim

    I guess the facts are in! ------ Nobody is perfect!

  • BeelzeDub

    Mr. Kim.

    I guess the facts are in! ------ Nobody is perfect!

    The intent of the post was not to high-light the sins of Will Rutherford but instead to illustrate the type of authoritarian religion and religious control that J.F. Rutherford experienced first hand as a young boy. This was likely "etched in his mind" much like the experience of this JW man when he was young.
    Latin from Manhattan.
    The article you mention must of faded from most dubs memories. I have seen many elders do the twist at wedding receptions. I am sure however back in the 50's it was quite the shock. I did know one elder who would bring a 6 inch ruler to the dances and walk around the dance floor making sure there was at least 6 inches between the brothers and sisters who were not married while dancing. Talk about control!
  • Mr. Kim
    Mr. Kim


    I know! You are right!

    The ways of man are NOT the ways of Jehovah.

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