Rutherford Exposed: The Story of Berta and Bonnie

by Farkel 739 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • larc

    I thought I would like to make my obervations of Berta. She had a soft southern accent, even though she had spent most of her life in the north and west. She came across as a Southern Belle. Her atire could only be described as classy. It was a cut above the cloths of the day, either Witness or nonWitness. I have wondered how she could dress so well. Perhaps the local congregation loved her so much that they helped her out financially. I doubt that. Perhaps she was sent money from Bethel. I don't know, but I don't think she could have done this on her own.

  • larc

    i would like to relate one other story, not related to the history. Berta came to visit us in Ohio. Two of her sisters were there, Rae and Lona, as well as her older brother Frank, and my mother and me. We all had lunch with her. My grandfather Frank paid for lunch and gave Berta several hundred dollars, which would be worth several thousand dollars today. He was not a Witness. The rest of the family said that this was a gift from Jehovah. Even though I was a zealous Witness at the time, I was offended. It was not a gift from Jehovah. It was a gift from my grandfather, Frank.

  • FreePeace

    Hey Doug,

    Great article... I read it and all the posts with interest. I called my mom to ask her if she ever knew Bonnie Boyd. She said the name was familiar. She did know Worth Thornton. I found it interesting that he said that Bonnie had slept with half the Bethelites during the 50's. One has to wonder... my dad was there during that time. If he was alive, I'd ask him about it.

    I mentioned to mom about how JFR was a tyrant (she agreed) and had a mistress (she denied that). All she could do was sing his praises and say "but Rutherford got us through the war by strengthening the brothers and inspiring them to take a stand."

    All I can say is NEVER underestimate the human capacity for denial.


  • Athanasius

    Perhaps we are being too judgemental of Rutherford regarding his sexual activities. Remember we are looking at Rutherford's conduct through the eyes of modern JWs and Ex-JWS rather than his contemporaries. For example if we were to view Abraham Lincoln by today's standards, the great liberator would come across as a white supremacist.

    In looking over some of my field notes I found an entry regarding a conversation that I had back in 1960 with an elderly JW by the name of Arthur Mingo. Arthur was in his eighties at the time and had joined the Bible Students in 1906. He was, therefore, an eyewitness to the many changes forced upon those who stayed in the Watch Tower movement. Surprisingly this didn't cause him to be bitter. Instead he was a very kind and humble person. Anyway Arthur was our Book Study conductor and after one meeting he and I and another JW were talking about all the weddings taking place in our congregation. I thought it was nice, the wedding ceremonies and especially the receptions. Arthur also felt joy for those getting married, but then he told us how simple things were back in the 1930s when Judge Rutherford ran the organization. Basically Arthur said that the JWs of that era didn't need government or religious approval to get married. Arthur said: "If a brother and sister wanted to get married, all they had to do was to inform the Company Servant of their intentions and then they would live together as husband and wife." It was that simple. Apparently Rutherford did the same with Berta and Bonnie.

    By the way in those days the congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses were called Companies and the Company Servant was like today's Presiding Overseer only he had more power than present day elders.

    Since some of my family had been in the Watch Tower since the 1920s I was aware that things were run differently during the Rutherford regime so Arthur's comments didn't shock me. Unfortunately I didn't think to ask him about divorce. Did that mean that all a JW couple had to do back then was to inform the Company Servant that they were no longer married? Arthur died in the 1960s so I can't ask him. Does anyone on this board know? Blondie can you help?

    Dr. James Penton also mentions the consensual JW unions of the 1930s in his book Apocalypse Delayed, page 266.

  • VM44

    Hi Athanasius,

    Apparently Rutherford did the same with Berta and Bonnie.

    Except for one little fact, there was Mrs Mary Rutherford residing in Monrovia California

    I wonder how Rutherford justified to himself his actions? or did he even care to try to?


  • Farkel


    I would like to speak with you personally. Send me a private message from this board if you wish to do so and I will tell you how to reach me.

    I left the JWs in 1972. That would make me anything but a WT spy. Furthermore, I only got involved in opposing this religion in the mid 1990's after a long incubation period of not caring a thing about it.

    Your call. Ask people. Ask AlanF, Barbara Anderson and others. I'm trustworthy with names and information that I'm quite proud about.

    This thread has had nearly 4,000 page views in just a few days, and the only time that happens in here is when fluffy bullshit is posted that doesn't mean anything. Rutherford is still a hot topic and I'm most interested in discussing that subject with you.


  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Whoa whoa whoa Rutherford had a wife. He was still legally married to her. I can see how this consensual marriage arrangement fits in with some of the "marital arrangements" in other countries but we are talking about North America. My parents separated in teh 60's I was the only kid I knew whose parents were not together. Divorce was still a sin. Shacking up was ever worse. How on earth could they justify this when a man was to have only 1 wife? Legally or scripturally is would have been so very wrong and scandalous - which is probably why it has been kept under wraps for so long.

    Let's face it if this had been some kind of special company arrangement then there should be some record of it - not the hidden secrets we are finding out about now

  • larc

    Athanasius, are you serious? Standards today are much more relaxed than they were in the late 1930's and early 40's. What Rutherford did was clearly wrong at any time in history. Lady Lee, you are right on target.

  • MerryMagdalene

    Has anybody checked with the Bible Students who broke away when Rutherford took over and continued to follow the teachings of Russell? Maybe there are still some oldtimers there who have relevant information and would be willing to share it if you could show it was for a worthy cause. They have an interesting website with access to old documents having to do with their history, and they have discussion forums. Just a thought.

  • frankiespeakin

    One thing to keep in mind is that the organization allowed polygamy, they didn't ban it until the 50's and probably didn't df you for it until the 60's. I knew a brother who mother and father were missionaries in Costa Rica where comon law marriages were comon among the brothers, the proclaimers book said that Knorr told all the brother there in a talk, that if they didn't clean up there act they should join the catholic church where that sort of thing was tolerated. Well I asked this brother (Bob Call) if Knorr's talk changed things in Costa Rica, he said no it was still tolerated.

    So perhaps all the upper echelon just veiwed Rutherfords women friends as concubines since that was allowed in many countries by the organization at the time.

    It is easy to see that when Knorr and Freddie got the reins of power they gradually started laying down the law for the rank and file. Knorr was single for much of his career didn't get married until sometime after his presidency,, which BTW,, when this happened it opened up the priviledge of marriage for missionaries,,this was explained to me while in bethel back in the 70's, and was a bone of contention of a few at bethel. And of course Freddie was to preocupied writing his drival to get involved with women kind,,which I think accounts for the strong stand the WT has taken on sex and sexual sins.

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