Rutherford Exposed: The Story of Berta and Bonnie
If the statement that soon follows catches your curiosity, keep reading. It was made by a beautiful woman who was Rutherford's constant traveling companion who did not work her way up the Bethel ladder (like almost all other women had to do) yet immediately came into his inner circle upon entering Bethel. It was made by a woman who abandoned her own husband of fifteen years to enter Bethel. It was made by a women who in later years wore crotchless panties and bras which had holes in the nipple areas. It was made by a women who during all of what I've described was an anointed sister and pioneer to the end of her life and was never reprimanded for any of the conduct I've just mentioned.
What did she say about Judge Rutherford?
She said, "He was like a husband to me in every way."
Before we get down to the details, let us review what we KNOW about Judge Rutherford as this gets to PATTERN of attitude and conduct:
He was a false prophet.
He was a tragic alcoholic.
He was a hypocrite who lived and traveled like royalty.
He was cruel, ruthless and vindictive.
It is my non-medical opinion that he was a narcissist and I will make comments based upon that assumption. Even if he wasn't clinically a narcissist, he exhibited a lot of traits associated with narcissism.
He had no genuine and close friends.
He was a man of hate, bitterness and revenge.
He was a federal lawbreaker who drank and had booze smuggled for him during Prohibition.
He was a man who scorned, even despised people who wanted to improve their own character and ethics.
He was an instigator who intentionally used his followers as pawns to start riots which hurt them but helped him get the publicity he craved.
He was a man who despite the fact he had no legitimate claim to the somewhat lofty title, insisted upon being called "Judge" for the entire time he ran the WTS.
He was a pathetic, rotten husband and father who was at least despised by his own son and probably by his own wife, neither of whom cared enough about him to go to his own funeral.
He was so disliked by his fellow Bethelites that only four of them attended his funeral.
He was a man whose prolific writings were so worthless that none of them are now being printed.
Narcissistic people consider themselves to be exempt from all the rules that should universally apply to everyone.
As a narcissist, he was a man who considered himself "above the law of the land" when Prohibition outlawed the possession and consumption of alcohol.
As a narcissist, he was a man who considered himself "above his OWN law" when he told people they could only gain salvation by preaching from door to door when he never did it himself as leader of the WTS.
As a narcissist, he considered himself "above the Christian law" of decency and honesty when he wrongly and intentionally vilified and libeled Olin Moyle and Walter Salter.
As a narcissist, he considered himself "above the Christian law" to be "no part of this world," when he meddled in politics in 1934 and praised Hitler while condemning the very government which allowed him to freely get away with his shennanigans.
In fact, the question could rightly be asked, "what (if any) rule or code of ethical conduct that he demanded of his followers did he himself actually obey?"
We are now down to the real question I'm going to ask: given the gross and unethical conduct of Rutherford I've just outlined, would he be more or less inclined to break yet another law, the Christian law against the commission of adultery? As a true narcissist, did Rutherford consider himself to be above the law against adultery?
The best evidence for or against this question would of course come from eyewitnesses, but most or all potential eyewitnesses are now dead.
Newly Revealed Evidence for Rutherford's Sexual Infidelity
The evidence comes from a man who is a long time poster on this board. He posts as "larc" and many of you like myself know him and have spoken with him. A number of you have personally met him. He not only knew the woman in question (she's now deceased), he has met her numerous times. She was a relative, being the aunt of his own mother.
Up until recently this secret of her year's long sexual affair with Rutherford was kept by the family. They were ashamed of what she had done. On the otherhand, "larc" has stated that no one in the family ever spoke poorly of her.
Obviously, this is evidence that no family member is or was out to "get" her. They have no reason to lie about a secret they've kept for so long.
This woman was a good friend of Bonnie Boyd before coming to Bethel in 1938. Bonnie Boyd was Rutherford's personal secretary. When this woman arrived at Bethel, she was immediately given a job as Rutherford's personal dietician, although she had no experience or training in that field and Rutherford already had a man in this position at that time.
Nearly all women have to start out in Bethel as maids or work in the laundry, which are the lowest of jobs. Why was she so lucky to get a top-notch job immediately upon coming to Bethel?
Why did she get to go everywhere Rutherford went, including traveling first class to Europe six to eight weeks a year and spending winters in the Beth Sarim mansion? Why did she become Rutherford's personal dietician WHILE TRAVELING when Rutherford already had a man as his personal dietician at Bethel?
Was it merely just because she was so beautiful and Rutherford had a fondness for beautiful women? Or is there more?
Her maiden name was Berta Teel. Her married name was Berta Peale. But before we discuss more about her, we will spend a little time talking about Bonnie Boyd. Bonnie Boyd and Berta Peale had some strange similarities and circumstances in their relationships with Rutherford.
Bonnie Boyd came to Bethel with her mother in 1923 and worked as a stenographer for W.E. Van Amburgh, a top-ranking Watchtower official. Yet that same year she then became a stenographer for Rutherford. In about 1931 she became Rutherford's personal secretary. According to her testimony in the Moyle vs. Franz trial on page 1367 she stated she took all dictation for all books and Watch Tower articles authored by Rutherford. Her husband William Heath testified that ONLY Bonnie saw Rutherford's writings until they were turned over for proofreading and publication.
Bonnie Boyd had a VERY important position in the WTS. She also lived in the lavish surroundings and manner as her boss. The same Moyle case has her testifying that she went on six to eight week annual trips to Europe with Rutherford and had done so for twenty years. (page 1382) Yet Boyd came to Bethel as a GIRL in the Fall of 1923 with her mother and Rutherford died in 1942, nineteen years later. A few weeks after Rutherford's death, the San Diego Union on February 18, 1942 quoted her as saying she was the "adopted daughter" of Judge Rutherford, and had been with him continuously since she was 16.
Why would Rutherford take a 16 year old GIRL as a constant companion? Rutherford considered women as inferiors who should keep their proper place as indicated by his oft stated comment that women were only "a stack of bones and a hank of hair." (September 15, 1941 WT, page 287) Once again, if Rutherford thought so little of women WHY did he have as a "constant companion" a 16 year old GIRL? Because he was generous and caring? No one knew him to be that.
Bonnie Boyd was one of the four or so "witnesses" who signed the deed to Beth Sarim in January of 1930. If she was only 16 in the Fall of 1923 when she came to Bethel, she would only be about 21 years of age when she signed the very significant deed to Beth Sarim. What did she, a very young women do to deserve such an honor of having her name attached to a deed of that importance?
In 1938 Bonnie Boyd married William Heath, an heir to one of the founders of the Coca Cola company. Heath was very, very rich. She continued to accompany Rutherford along with her new husband everywhere he went. But there was ONE thing that had changed. Her husband was heir to part of the Coca Cola fortune and she no longer was compelled to depend upon Rutherford to live and travel in his luxury, or worry about being tossed out of Bethel and back into the Great Depression.
From Olin Moyle's letter to Rutherford:
"Here again is shown unequal and discriminatory treatment. One brother left Bethel some time ago for the purpose of getting married, and, so I am informed, was refused the privilege of pioneering in New York, apparently as an official disapproval of his action in leaving Bethel. On the other hand when Bonnie Boyd got married she didn't have to leave Bethel. She was permitted to bring her husband into Bethel in spite of the printed rule providing that both marrying parties should have lived there for five years."
Why did Bethel break one of its ever-so-rigid rules and make an exception for a "lowly" women named Bonnie Boyd? What made her so SPECIAL that she was able to avoid the Bethel rules? Was it because of her husband's great wealth? Women are the lowest form of life at Bethel and were worse than that in Rutherford's time! Did Bonnie "have something" on Rutherford that caused her to be treated so differently? Was it her new husband's money that caused Rutherford to break his own rules for her?
The person reporting this testimony from another eyewitness stated:
?And according to Worth Thornton (a dear friend of mine, now deceased, was Knorr?s ?secretary,? wrote the Informant ? now KM), Bonnie had slept with half of the Bethelites in the 1950?s. The big-shots at the time evidently knew of the scandal but chose to sweep it under the rug."
Coincidentally, (or is it?) just a MONTH after Bonnie Boyd was married, Rutherford had a NEW, beautiful and female traveling companion who was much younger than himself: Berta Peale
Berta met Bonnie Boyd sometime in the early 1930's. This was confirmed by her niece, "larc's" mother. It was also confirmed in the Olin Moyle trial transcript on pages 1299-1301. At the time, Berta was a full time pioneer and a member of the "anointed." During this time she traveled to Europe with Bonnie Boyd to attend a European convention of Jehovah's Witnesses.
There she met Rutherford. Her family had very little money. They moved from North Carolina to Akron, Ohio and her older brother struggled to support Berta and nine other people including himself during this time. This was the Great Depression and hardly anyone had money to eat, let alone to travel abroad.
Who paid for her expensive trip to attend a convention overseas where she met Rutherford for the first time? Since we know Rutherford financed Bonnie Boyd's trip, can't we also assume he likely financed Berta's trip?
In June of 1938 Berta abandoned her husband of 15 years and went to Bethel. This was just ONE MONTH after Bonnie Boyd became MRS. William Heath. Among herself and her three female sisters, Berta was by far the most beautiful according to "larc", her grand nephew. He had seen her a number of times as a youngster. A picture of her will be added to this article very shortly.
Later in 1938, Berta's husband filed for divorce on the grounds of abandonment and it was granted in 1940. Copies of the divorce filing by Alfred Peale for spousal abandonment and the final decree were sent to Bethel. Yet the Watchtower Society did NOTHING to punish Berta for leaving her husband without a scriptural reason. NOTHING!
Not only was she not punished or sent home she was given one of the two or three most envious jobs conceivable at Bethel: living and traveling like a Queen with the Watchtower King himself.
Why did Rutherford make her a "dietician" when he already had one and she was unqualified for the job? The Moyle trial states that she was a Practical Nurse, but a dietician is a specialty unto itself. It was also brought out in the Moyle trial that Rutherford already HAD his own private nurse, and ridiculed the notion that Rutherford needed two of them, since he was obviously healthy enough to travel and speak so extensively. In contradiction to what was claimed in the Moyle trial, ?larc? stated that Berta?s only job experience prior to entering Bethel was factory work! Why was she the only of his two dietician's to travel with Rutherford and stay with him in Beth Sarim? Why did she get this meteoric rise in privilege immediately upon entering Bethel?
Some years after Rutherford died, Berta continued on as a pioneer and a "member of the anointed." She paid a visit to her relatives and gave her own sister some lingerie that was purchased in France while she was still at Bethel. They were a pair of crotchless panties and a bra with which had holes in the nipple areas. The relatives were shocked by this. She was "anointed." She was still a "pioneer." She wore crotchless panties! When "larc" was 13 he saw his aunt (Berta's sister Lona) wearing that "nipple" bra. He reacted like any normal thirteen year old boy: he loved it!
"The Hairpin Story"
It has been reported before that on one of Rutherford's trips during the time Berta was working for him, a maid at the hotel found a woman's hairpin IN Rutherford's bed. His female "assistant" was staying in an adjoining room with a door that could access either room. "larc" reported to me that Dr. M. James Penton a famous WTS researcher discovered that this incident occurred in North Carolina.
Is this significant? Berta Peale was from North Carolina. Coincidence? Perhaps. But consider the following from a poster named "cyberguy":
"She was his "personal dietician." He was way-up in years, she was very young, at least half his age at the time, probably even much younger! She had a bedroom adjacent to his, with a directly connecting door to his bedroom, in the Soceity?s train car that was used to "preach the kingdom" during da judge?s reign. She also went wherever da judge went, including frequent trips to Europe. Where were his wife and Son? For all practical purposes, they were separated and living a long distance apart; da judge made sure of that!?
"A good friend of mine was an elder in the hall in Long Beach, California, long after da judge?s death, is the source of this information. She requested that the elders (my friend being one of the elders) meet with her (she was in her 70?s), because she wasn?t sure if she would receive her heavenly reward. The elders met, and she told them the relationship she had with Rutherford over a 15-year period! She even showed them movies of the two of them, hugging and kissing, shortly before dropping this "bomb shell!"
"Anyway, the elders made contact with headquarters, and Nathan Knorr met with Birda [her name was actually "Berta"], while at a District Convention in California, shortly afterward. Nathan Knorr, with some other officials present, said that they long knew of the adulterous relationship, but for some reason, never said anything to anyone about it; they also told her that because this was so far in the past, not to worry about it! (Is this a double standard or what?)"
"larc's" cousin Sue (the daughter of Berta?s sister) told him that when Berta was young, she was so rebellious that she was the only one of four daughters her father needed to spank.
One time, ?larc?s? cousin Sue was looking through a family album with him. There was a picture of a man in the photo album alongside Berta. Sue told ?larc? that the man in the picture was a married naval officer. It cannot be shown that they had an affair, but it begs the questions: WHY was an anointed pioneer in a picture with a married man? And why was she in the company of a military person?
Bonnie and Berta - The Similarities
1) Two women who were the "closest" to Rutherford during his later life.
2) Two women who were constant traveling and living companions.
3) Two women who were quickly propelled to the pinnacle of the WT elite.
4)Two women who broke the strictest of WT rules, yet not a thing was done about it.
5) One woman became a constant companion of Rutherford's when she was only sixteen years old. She was accused by a man not afraid of identifying himself by name of "sleeping around" in Bethel in the 1950's. Another women who magically received paid passage to Europe during the Great Depression and immediately upon entering Bethel received an elite job that not only was she not qualified to have, the job had already been filled by someone else? Who needed to have TWO Dieticians back then?
6) One beautiful and poor young women brought into Bethel who immediately became a "personal assistant" and "constant companion" only one MONTH AFTER another "personal assistant" and "constant companion" became married.
7) The Great Depression where no one had any money and would die for the opportunity to live the luxurious life of Rutherford.
8) Adjacent bedrooms with connecting doors for these women and the Judge in trains and in hotels. The Judge's habit of working at night in Beth Sarim when the rest of his housekeeping staff was asleep.
Crotchless panties and provacative bras worn by an "anointed pioneer" who was also a very rebellious child.
One lonely, horny old immoral drunk with all the power and money he could ask for who viewed women as only acceptable "if they kept their proper place."
One absolute dictator who broke all the rules he set for others who considered himself above such rules.
Testimony from a named informant that Nathan Knorr and others knew of Rutherford?s infidelity with Berta and did nothing about it, thus keeping it covered up.
He had the lack of moral ethics. He had the motive. He had the victims willing or otherwise. He had the opportunity. He had the alibi and he had the cover-up. He had the people to continue the cover-up.
And now we have uncovered a new story about him.
Remember what Berta said:
"He was like a husband to me in every way."
the plot thickens....
what's that rattlin' noise i hear?? sounds like skeletons shakin' round in the closet!
Very interesting and compelling. I find all those who knew it was going on and said nothing just as reprehensible if not more so.
"It is only a sin if you get caught."
I am re-reading some of Rutherford's crap and his attitude about Prohibition was that it was a scheme of Satan.
His stuff is basically the same few concepts over and over and over strewn with a few scriptures.
It makes today's stuff look like deep Bible research.
Thank you Fark, larc, and cyberguy for clearing up some of the mystery around this question -- or at least opening up new avenues for further research.
I wonder what happened to those home movies? Wanna bet that the bOrg snatched them up and had a little bonfire -- or buried them deep into the Bethel archives? Or does the family still have a copy?
Farkel, nice work!
Does Jesus know about this?
Goodthing this little affair wasn't going on in 1919 or Jesus surely would not have selected them as his earthly reps.
Very fascinating read........BUT, did anyone actually PROVE anything regarding these women having a sexual relationship with JFR?
Farkel, Great writeup! This is one of the most important posts I have read here. With the correct last name for Berta, I found the following:
BERTA PEALE, Born: 30 Oct 1901, Died: May 1973, Last Residence zip code 90813 (Long Beach, Los Angeles, CA), Social Security Number: 550-42-2857
The "Judge" was born in 1869, so Berta was 32 years younger than Rutherford.
I hope this won't be the end to the research. People need to continue to come forward with what information they have.
Didn't larc say that his wife was also going to write something?
That's her alright! "larc" told me she was born in 1901 as your vital statistics indicate. This also ties PERFECTLY with cyberguy's testimony about Berta confessing to the elders in LONG BEACH, the exact city where she died!
: BUT, did anyone actually PROVE anything regarding these women having a sexual relationship with JFR?
"Actually prove" you exist. Charles Manson was convicted of mass murder on less circumstantial evidence than I provided. And he never confessed. Berta did: to her family and to her elders. Why would an old "anointed" pioneer confess to something she never did. Her own family who knew he best never considered her a nut job. Excentric, yes, but not a nut.
If you're looking for explicit home movies of Rutherford's affair(s), you'll have to carefully pray to Jehovah to provide them for you.