Rutherford - Watchtower Rewriting History Again?

by Stephanus 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • Stephanus

    From an article in the July 8 Awake! by a "Ken Payne", entitled I Tried To Serve Two Masters:


    What interested me was phrasing of the footnote - that instead of being autocratic President of the Tower, Judge Joe merely "took the lead"! Is there now a trend towards minimalising the true role that presidents past played in Tower history? Are there other instances of this kind of downplaying of the presidential office of the past?

  • ozziepost

    Neat point, Steph.

    It's quite a change from the times when we were 'treated' to full pages of past Borg presidents' images, eh?

    Cheers, Ozzie

  • VM44
    J.F. Rutherford took the lead among Jehovah's Witnesses until his death in 1942.

    This is a true statement, but does understate matters.

    Rutherford was the autocratic ruler of the Jehovah's Witnesses. He had the final say on everything. The Societies committees only provided a rubber stamp approval on matters which were decided upon by Rutherford.

    It has been said that the reason the San Diego home "Beth Sarim" was built was to get Rutherford away from Brooklyn to keep him from meddling.

    While most articles published by the Watchtower were anonymous, Rutherford's books always listed him as the author.

    While he was alive, the Watchtower reffered to him as "Judge Rutherford" using the title freely in articles and advertising public appearences by Rutherford. Recent WT publications do not use the title, or say Rutherford was "affectionately" called "The Judge" (This is because Rutherford only filled in for about 4 days when a Circuit Judge was out of town"

    Rutherford intimidated the witnesses and those at Bethel, this is even alluded to in some experiences with Rutherford published in the Watchtower.

    So, while the statement is accurate, it does leave a lot unsaid.


  • kgfreeperson

    It is my understanding (how's that for wiggle--can't remember where the heck I got this) that there has indeed been a decided downplaying on the role of Rutherford, or any president, as head of the organization. I also don't think it is new. I remember something, I think probably on JWD, talking about articles denying that JWs ever saw Rutherford as anything special. Then there were a bunch of articles/pictures identifying Rutherford as "our chief" and terms like that.

  • run dont walk
    run dont walk

    good eye Stephanus.

    It is my opinion that the Watchtower wishes Rutherford legacy would just go away, he put his foot in his mouth alot, and came up with some wild predictions/articles.

    But then again, the JW's still believe heavens doors were closed in 1935, and that one was all Rutherford.

  • BeelzeDub
    "J.F. Rutherford's voice, which became etched in my mind"

    One thing you have to give to Rutherford, he could preach a sermon that would keep the dubs awake, and "etch the mind" of young ones. He was likely repeating what had been "etched in his mind" as a boy.

  • rocketman

    Who knows with the writing staff these days? - it certainly is an understatement, but maybe that's just how they chose to word it this one time and refelcts no real change in rear-view of Da Judge.

  • benext

    ...took the lead among Jehovah's Witnesses. Who would they say takes the lead among them today?

  • Maverick

    The duds tie the footnote in with the door to door preaching...which judge dud did NOT do! A little literary slight of hand. Maverick

  • Victorian sky
    Victorian sky

    It's really interesting that for a group that advocates research and making sure of all things, most JW's dont know or care to investigate their own history. I remember reading the white washed version of the borgs history and never questioning what I read. The same holds true for many in the borg now. A young witness told one of my relatives recently that Russelites and not JW's believed the wrong prophecies and crazy teachings of Russel! I mean, talk about rewriting history but that's what he was told. The borg is definately distancing themselves from the early Prez's and glossing over the facts as usual. - Victorian Sky

  • minimus

    I see nothing wrong with that footnote. (Except that they should have added "in drinking").

  • Robdar

    I think that they are making Rutherford appear in a better light because they are getting ready to canonize him. Yep, old boy is going to be the first WTS saint.


    No can do on that. I called 5 today. I couldn't leave a message because not a single one had an answering machine. I am sorry, my friend. I hope that you don't feel that I have failed you.


  • Amazing

    The truth is Rutherford stole the lead, busted his way into the President and Dictator for Life role ... and ruined an otherwise harmeless little Bible cult ... turning it into a slave book sales racket. - Jim W.

  • Big Tex
    Big Tex

    So if Rutherford could be likened to Lenin, as in the man who originated a new thinking, does that make Rutherford akin to Stalin?

  • Amazing

    Hi Big Tex:

    So if Rutherford (Russell) could be likened to Lenin, as in the man who originated a new thinking, does that make Rutherford akin to Stalin?

    Yes ... exactly ... right on target ... with one exception ... Stalin wasn't in it for the Prophet (Profit).

  • No Apologies
    No Apologies

    Can't provide any specific references at the moment, but yes, this is part of the Org's continual rewrite of their history. Russell, Rutherford, and Knorr, are referred to now as ones taking the lead among Jehovah's Witnesses, or as part of the Governing Body at the time. Conveniently overlooking little details, such as the fact that Russell was never part of any organization known as Jehovah's Witnesses, or that the Governing Body did not actually exist until the mid 70s.

    One recent article even referred to Studies in the Scriptures as "published by Jehovah's Witnesses!" Right...

    Someday I suppose they will describe how Russell and Rutherford were early members of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses(tm).

  • RR

    The way I read it, it rings of truth. Rutherford did spear head the work of the JW's, he did in fact lead them. That can't be said of Russell, since Russell wasn't a JW. Perhaps they are trying to distance themselves from the Bible Students who still follow Russell's teachings.

    The only problem with that is .... to say Rutherford was their leader and founder will only give them a presence since 1931. So they need Russell to establish themselves as an "old time religion" of the 1800s.

  • Big Tex
    Big Tex

    "One death is a tragedy. Millions are a statistic." -- Josef Stalin

    Sounds like a Witness talking to me.

  • Stephanus

    I have no problem with the "truth" of the statement - it is technically correct in every aspect. "Took" is particularly apt regarding da Judge's grab for the leadership. It was just one of those sentences that "reached out and grabbed" me...

    Rob, understood! No worries.

  • refiners fire
    refiners fire

    Well theres a tendancy to completely overthrow the king once hes dead and tear down all the monuments he built. Surely CT Russell is no more than a symbol on pages of a magazine now. Noone knows what he actually SAID, and the masses cant be allowed to read what he taught because it contradicts current theology. And we all know that the "truth" never changes. Right? I think Rutherford was an arrogant autocratic pig. Not an image they want of one of their past leaders, so they are down playing him. Youll notice they never mention Knorr. Thats because hes not a historical problem. They only mes around with the histories of the ones that are a "problem".

    "problem" = Reality contradicts Officially sanctioned history

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