What kind of person was Nathan H. Knorr?

by Hecce 25 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Hecce

    We have several examples in the forum showing that President Knorr was not a loving and caring person; one that impressed me was the one about the elderly Bethelite that was put out on the streets until his death due to a disagreement with Knorr.

    I bring to your attention an incident that happened in the country of Honduras back in the 50s, it has to do with immoral conduct by a Branch Overseer and his subsequent disfellowshiping. I am not critical of the end result of his conduct but rather the salacious and detailed report of this matter putting in the open the details for the whole world to see.

    While making this assertion I am thinking about the relatives of this man, his father was a DO, his brother was at that time a CO and eventually a DO; the wife was from a very spiritual family and she herself was an outstanding Christian. It seems that Knorr took like in some other instances this matter very personally and he promised that as long as he was President he was not going to be reinstated.

    This was a promise that he couldn’t keep and it took about 10 years but the man was eventually reinstated, as years went by and this blemish was getting smaller he started getting some privileges and he rose to the point that after like 30 years he became a CO and then DO until his death.

    I don’t condone what this man did and most certainly he deserved harsh discipline, but I question whether it was needed to put all the salacious details out in the open in a Watchtower article.

    Here is the information for your consideration:

    The Watchtower July 15, 1955 Page 430:

    The brothers saw results from the assembly, because their January report showed 104 engaging in preaching this good news of the Kingdom throughout all of British Honduras. HONDURAS Two days before President Knorr’s arrival in Honduras the constitutional government had fallen. The political situation was tense.

    Also, a very grave situation had developed within the congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses itself. Brother Knorr would have to appoint a new branch servant because the one formerly in charge had disqualified himself and he was therefore disfellowshiped.

    Here for Jehovah’s people there was tension within and without. For the past four years Jehovah’s witnesses had been blessed and many were being gathered into the New World society. In 1950 there were 208 publishers in the country and by the time the service year of 1954 had closed there was an average of 410.

    The missionaries along with the local publishers had done well, but when corruption was found within the organization it disturbed some of the weaker ones, as they were looking to mem rather than to Jehovah God. In checking the February, 1955, report it is found that there are now only 392 publishers, a decrease from the 1954 average and far below the peak of 460 publishers in April, 1954. It will take hard work on the part of the missionaries and other mature brothers in the congregation to aid, strengthen and bring on to maturity those who once had taken a stand for the Kingdom.

    Those who corrupt Jehovah’s organization by immoral living have something to answer for before Jehovah God. A little sister reported the misconduct of the branch servant to one of the missionaries. It was this information that led to the uncovering of the scandal that had B r o o k l y n , N . Y . corrupted the local organization. This girl had told how she had seen the branch servant, a married man, making regular calls at the one-room house of a prostitute. It was hard for the missionary to believe the report. So then she wanted to see with her own eyes. She did, and she reported the matter to some brothers, missionaries, and for several days the branch servant was watched and his conduct checked. Some days he made as many as three calls to see this girl of ill fame. Sometimes he would take her to the theater.

    The matter was then reported to the president’s office and instructions were sent out to make a very thorough check and to have a sufficient number of witnesses watch this man’s actions. Even the branch servant’s wife was invited to go along on a back-call near the harlot’s home so she too could see exactly what her husband was doing before the charges were presented to him and disfellowshiping would take place.

    The Society’s president had given instructions for the man to have a fair hearing, but from the very start he tried to lie his way out. He even said he had not gone to the place. But there were a sufficient number of witnesses who were wholly devoted to Jehovah God observing daily what had taken place and in the face of all of his lies the man was disfellowshiped.

    If a person wants to live as the world lives, then let him stay in the world. When we find men in the organization like those Jude described—“ungodly men, turning the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose conduct and proving false to our only Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ” —then they should be removed from the organization, and quickly.—Jude 4, NW.


  • Luther bertrand
    Luther bertrand
    Knorr did develop brain cancer, while we do not know how long the tumor was in his head nor do we know its size or location. However,depending on all those variables they could indeed effect his behavior and interactions with people!
  • Hecce

    Hi Luther, thanks for the input.

    This incident occurred while Knorr was in his prime, It is possible that the illness was there at that time but during his tenure he took some decisions that showed a very vindictive personality.


  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot

    "...about the elderly Bethelite that was put out on the streets until his death due to a disagreement with Knorr."

    Slightly surprised to hear that. Sounds like something that only Joseph Rutherford would do.

  • millie210

    So his wife went along to observe whilst pretending to be on a "back call"?

    You know, its only once youre out and have had some space and distance, that you realize how wacko it all is.

  • Hecce

    Village idiot, here is the sad experience:

    The Death of Charles de Wilda (self.exjw)

    submitted 1 year ago by wifibanditUndercover Apostate

    by William (Bill) Cetnar

    Translated by belbab


    One tragic event that happened at the Watchtower Headquarters during my service there involves Charles de Wilda. Charlie, as we all called him, was a deserter from the Cavalry after the First World War and looking for employment, he came to Headquarters. He was told there was work available, but the salary was only twenty dollars a month with room and board. He accepted the offer and when I knew him, he had already worked there for more than thirty years. Now, Charlie was old, a little slower, but still a hard worker. President Knorr often praised him and used him as an example for the volume of work that one man could accomplish. Charlie was the best bookbinder on the fourth floor.

    But, like everyone else who worked at Bethel, he was not allowed like everyone else to get married if he wanted to stay at Bethel. Knorr often repeated this rule, and that irritated Charlie. However, in 1952, violating his own rule, Knorr married Audry Mock, one of the sisters at Bethel. A few years after the marriage, Charlie went to see Knorr, and told him he had broken his own law and he should resign. He added: “You preach love more than anyone else, but it is you that practice it the least.”

    The result of this confrontation, Charlie was not allowed his usual seat in the cafeteria, and was relegated to a distant corner at the back. The pretext for this is that he was rude. It was evident that he was being punished. He refused to remain put in his new seating place and returned to his former place. His life was made so bitter at Bethel, he took his few possessions and departed. Bethel was his whole life. He never even took his vacations. He did not know where to go, he never had any one to receive him, but for him, at the time, anything was better than Bethel. I met him later, he slept at a flophouse for fifty cents a night. When he was short of money, he begged from Bethel workers and other Witnesses to give him some money to provide him with food. I gave him some for his needs. The Bethel workers were instructed to not give him money, and a letter was sent saying the same from the Bethel headquarters directed to the congregations in the area. I heard later, that eventually Charles de Wilda died on a park bench in a public park.

    That is how one rewards a man who after forty years of faithful service in “God’s organization because he denounced an evident anomaly. This was an example that revealed to me how little the love that exists at headquarters for the personnel who worked there.


  • LoveUniHateExams

    I read on the Freeminds website that Knorr was a confirmed bachelor for some time, and some people were surprised when he eventually married.

    I also remember reading that Knorr was obsessive and uptight in his attitudes to sex and the like, even giving each new set of bethel recruits instructions on how to use the bathroom. I don't know if this is true or not, and no, I don't have any links.

    Perhaps others who know more than me can confirm or deny any of the above ...

  • SadElder

    Nathan Knorr was a pompous ass. He showed respect for few but expected all to be agog at his stature in the org while feigning a false humility in his speeches. He expected the thousands to swoon at his boring overtime convention prattle. A pock on him.

    Can you tell we had no use for him?

  • Robo Bobo
    Robo Bobo

    I heard a story from a missionary (who has since passed away) about a Gilead student who was suffering from a mental disorder back in Knorr's day. She would become disoriented at night and was known to strip naked and do other strange things. Knorr apparently wanted her back in her home country - and as cheap as possible. He sent her back alone on some sort of cargo ship. She had one of her episodes and jumped overboard, lost at sea.

    He supposedly had a reputation of spending as little as possible on missionaries and basically not giving a damn but would spend liberally in updating commodities at h.q.

    Update: Turns out this story was mentioned on this forum years ago!


  • Hecce
    Robo Bobo

    If I recall correctly, I think Charlie's experience and the one about the sister that drowned were both part of the tales of Bill Cetnar who was at one time a heavyweight in Bethe.

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