Rutherford Exposed: The Story of Berta and Bonnie

by Farkel 739 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Earnest
    Earnest

    Leolaia,

    I lost an earlier reply to the cyber-ether so just want to let you know they were married on January 25, 1938 in Las Vegas, Nevada if that helps. Also, Bonnie says (in 1940) that her mother has discontinued service on account of her health and "is home in Texas". That probably means that she and her mother originally came from Texas.

    I will reply more fully in the next day or two to the other points raised.

    Earnest

  • Farkel
    Farkel

    bttt.

    Anyone want to say Da Judge was a loyal, faithful husband, when in FACT he NEVER let his OWN WIFE come to Bethel and left her to be out in the Los Angeles area ALONE for his entire life from at least 1917 forward to 1942?

    Anyone want to explain why Da Judge was such a worthless father that his OWN SON would have NOTHING to do with him, yet Da Judge gave talks and made books about marriage and why it was wrong and having children and why that was wrong: He was a shitty father and husband; just make marriage and kids something one can defer until Rutherford's (false) prophecies are "fulfilled." Right. They were NEVER fulfilled and he is rotting in his grave. He died of "asshole cancer." A fitting death, I might add.

    Farkel

  • Earnest
    Earnest
    Farkel : So, Earnest: if you are playing for those boys, get their best member to do a tete-'d-tete with me.

    Farkel, I am not playing for anyone other than myself and the idea that I have any influence at Bethel is entirely misplaced. If you really want to have a one-to-one discussion with the Service Department then I suggest you have a word with AlanF who seems to have managed it himself (see his meeting with Harry Peloyan) and is a human compendium of Who's Who in Watchtowerland.

    Farkel : Anyone want to say Da Judge was a loyal, faithful husband, when in FACT he NEVER let his OWN WIFE come to Bethel and left her to be out in the Los Angeles area ALONE for his entire life from at least 1917 forward to 1942?

    I am keeping an open mind as to whether or not Rutherford remained faithful to his wife, but my impression has been that she lived in California because of her health. In the examination of William Heath in the Moyle trial, Mr. Covington asked about Rutherford's wife (pp.1324-1325) :

    Q. Mrs. Rutherford, what is her physical condition ?

    A. She was an invalid for the years I knew the Judge.

    Q. Was she maintained in California by the Judge ? A. She had a home there. He provided.

    It's not clear to me whether the home was on the Beth-Sarim property or not, but as he spent seven months a year in California and was not accused by Moyle (or anyone else at the time) of neglecting his wife I don't think your inference is correct. And it seems she did live in Bethel before her health deteriorated. In cross-examination of Matthew Howlett, who had known Rutherford since 1913, he says so (p.1203) :

    Q. By the way, did Mr. Rutherford's wife live at Bethel ? A. At one time, yes, sir.

    Q. When ? A. In the early days.

    Q. How early ? A. I don't know.

    The Court: Do you know that of your own knowledge ?

    The Witness: Yes, I do know that.

    cyberguy, thanks for your kind offer to put me in contact with one of the elders that met with Berta but I really think it would be better if that opportunity be given to larc, who has a far greater personal interest in the matter, and I am sure will share whatever he considers appropriate. I was not suggesting he had made up the account of Berta's confession, I simply cannot reconcile the fifteen year period she spoke of.

    Larc : Earnest, as Farkel pointed out, Bonnie's testemony regarding Berta's background is very weak and vague. She claims that Berta was a dietician in Ohio, but was unemployed. I find that pecular. Either Bonnie lied to exagerate Berta's credentials, or she was simply ignorant of the facts. Berta was never a dietician in Ohio.

    Larc, it does seem peculiar as she seems so certain about it. Earlier, in the examination by Mr. Covington, he asks her about Mrs. Peal's duties (pp.1369-1370) :

    Q. What other duties [apart from housekeeping] did she perform ?

    A. She was a very fine dietician and also a nurse. She assisted Mr. Howlett; when Judge Rutherford was very ill, she assisted him.

    By the Court:

    Q. Was she a registered nurse? A. No, I don't think so.

    Q. You say she is a very fine dietician? A. Yes.

    Q. How do you know that? A. From her experience and the way she performed her duties.

    As Berta (Bonnie calls her Verna) wasn't working when Bonnie visited her in Ohio I can only conclude that this is what Berta told her. Why either would want to exaggerate about it I have no idea.

    Larc : Berta came to Bethel in June of 1938. This information is in the divorce papers.

    ok, so the fact that Howlett, who had been acting as nurse and dietician to Rutherford, went on the Zone work in July suggests that Berta was invited to come as a nurse/dietician while Howlett was away, as well as being housekeeper. By the way, contrary to the impression I gave in my previous post, Berta did not live on the seventh floor while at Bethel.

    Larc : When Bonnie said that she knew Berta for 10 years, she may have referring to the time up until the trial. I don't know when Berta became a Bible student, so I can't say when Berta and Bonnie became friends.

    Yes, you are quite right and that is what was confusing me. The court record says (p.1382) :

    Q. Was she a Jehovah's Witness before she came over [to Bethel]? A. Oh, yes, indeed.

    Q. How long had she been a Jehovah's Witness? A. About twenty years.

    Q. When did you first become acquainted with her? A. I became acquainted with her about ten years ago.

    So, that was said in 1940 meaning they became acquainted about 1930. That fits in with the thought that Berta had told her family that she first met Rutherford in the early to mid-1930?s when she and Bonnie went to Europe. It is still a bit puzzling that Bonnie didn't think Rutherford knew her before she came to Bethel, as mentioned in my previous post. My guess is that they did meet in the early 1930s but there was nothing significant about it and they probably didn't meet again until she came to Bethel.

    Leolaia : I haven't yet found her though, and I'm not use if her birth name was also "Bonnie".

    Leolaia, the fact that Bonnie and her mother came to Bethel in 1923 (and that Rutherford became a father-figure) suggests that her father was either dead or divorced. If her mother subsequently reverted to her maiden name that would make it close to impossible to find them on an earlier census. I think the best bet are Bonnie's marriage papers in Las Vegas in the second half of January 1938.

    Leolaia : BTW, did her association with Rutherford go back to 1920 or was this before she met him?

    She came to Bethel in 1923 at the invitation of Van Amburgh so it is unlikely Rutherford knew her before then.

    onacruse, I'm glad this brought you out of the woodwork. I hated to think you were missing out on all this fun. btw, have you seen the thread by Narkissos. Should be just your cup of tea.

    Earnest

  • Farkel
    Farkel

    Earnest,


    : If you really want to have a one-to-one discussion with the Service Department then I suggest you have a word with AlanF who seems to have managed it himself (see his meeting with Harry Peloyan) and is a human compendium of Who's Who in Watchtowerland.


    I've known AlanF for the better part of a decade. I know all about his meetings with Peloyan and Schroeder. I now know your circumstances with regards to the JW religion. I did not know that when I made my posted you referenced.


    I said:


    Farkel : Anyone want to say Da Judge was a loyal, faithful husband, when in FACT he NEVER let his OWN WIFE come to Bethel and left her to be out in the Los Angeles area ALONE for his entire life from at least 1917 forward to 1942?


    : I am keeping an open mind as to whether or not Rutherford remained faithful to his wife, but my impression has been that she lived in California because of her health. In the examination of William Heath in the Moyle trial, Mr. Covington asked about Rutherford's wife (pp.1324-1325) :


    : Q. Mrs. Rutherford, what is her physical condition ?


    : A. She was an invalid for the years I knew the Judge.


    : Q. Was she maintained in California by the Judge ? A. She had a home there. He provided.


    : It's not clear to me whether the home was on the Beth-Sarim property or not, but as he spent seven months a year in California and was not accused by Moyle (or anyone else at the time) of neglecting his wife I don't think your inference is correct. And it seems she did live in Bethel before her health deteriorated. In cross-examination of Matthew Howlett, who had known Rutherford since 1913, he says so (p.1203) :


    : Q. By the way, did Mr. Rutherford's wife live at Bethel ? A. At one time, yes, sir.


    : Q. When ? A. In the early days.


    : Q. How early ? A. I don't know.


    : The Court: Do you know that of your own knowledge ?


    : The Witness: Yes, I do know that.


    The witness knows that Mrs. Rutherford lived at Bethel in the "early days" but doesn't know WHEN in those "early days" she lived there. Not exactly hard evidence that she lived there post 1917.






    Rutherford didn't have much power before 1917. He had ALL the power afterwards. And never has any evidence been shown that Mary was with him in Bethel after that year.


    Mary lived in the Los Angeles area, not in San Diego. It has been said that she was very bitter about Rutherford's treatment of her. It has also been said that she became a tragic alcoholic. There is NO evidence that has been presented that said Rutherford ever visited her when he went to San Diego, and the fact that neither she nor their son came to his funeral, even though they were still legally married at the time of his death, speaks volumes about what they thought of Rutherford.


    Lastly, "invalids" don't necessary need different climates to live in than non-invalids. The word "invalid" with regards to Mary has never been defined, and probably for good reason. Not knowing her exact malady, but claiming that she was an "invalid" could give Rutherford justification for keeping her so far away from him, and out of his life.


    Not giving her her marital due and not being there for her personally still indicts Rutherford for spousal abandonment which is condemned in the Bible.


    Farkel

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Just a thought here

    Is there any evidence that Mrs Rutherford remained faithful to the Russellites/Bible Students?

  • larc
    larc

    Earnest, regarding Berta's credentials as a nurse and dietician, Bonnie lied as did many others in their testimony. Berta was not either a nurse or a dietician before coming to Bethel. She was a clerical worker - nothing more that that. On another note, Berta was not a Bible Student for 20 years before the trial. She was living in North Carolina in 1920, and had not been converted yet. This another example of Bonnie's lies or exagerations.

  • larc
    larc

    OK Earnest, in the 1930 census, Berta was listed as a clerical worker. Now, it is possible that that in the next seven and half years, that she became a dietician. It could happen. Funny thing is that this amazing transformation was never discussed in the family. I find that odd.

  • Leolaia
    Leolaia
    On another note, Berta was not a Bible Student for 20 years before the trial. She was living in North Carolina in 1920, and had not been converted yet.

    Just a small clarification....Berta was already living in Ohio in 1920. The 1920 census gives her address as 257 Franz Place, Akron, Summit, Ohio. From info from the George Teel household, I've determined that the Teels moved from North Carolina to Ohio sometime between December 1916 and March 1919.

  • Athanasius
    Athanasius

    Hi Lady Lee,

    Mary Rutherford's obituary, which appeared on page one of the Boonville (Missouri) Advertiser of February 15, 1963, may answer your questions regarding her religious affiliation.

    "Mrs. Rutherford, 93 Dies in California

    Word has been received here of the recent death of Mrs. Mary Rutherford, 93, former resident of Boonville, who had made her home in Monrovia, Calif., for the past 40 years.

    Until poor health confined her to her home, she took an active part in the ministerial work of Jehovah's Witnesses. Her husband, whose death occurred a number of years ago, served as president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society from 1917 until 1942. Mrs. Rutherford accompanied him frequently to many different foreign countries.

    Surviving are a son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm C. Rutherford, of Arcadia, Calif.

    Paul L. Sergeants, minister of the Arcadia, Calif., Jehovah's Witnesses, officiated at the funeral service. Burial was in Live Oak Memorial Park in Monrovia."

    If the Boonville Advertiser is correct, Mary Rutherford lived in Monrovia, California beginning in 1923. This is where she lived when my friend CW met her in the early 1950s. Though Mary accompanied JFR on several European tours before World War I, she was not included in the Judge's post war entourage. As Mary told CW, when Joe would come out to California he would spend his time at Beth Sarim with his mistress and would never visit his wife, who lived just 100 miles away from the San Diego mansion.

    It is also interesting that Mary lived to a ripe old age of 93 and was an active Witness until poor health in later years confined her to her home.

    The Rutherford partisans often refer to Mary as an invalid, making it sound like she was confined to a hospital bed and needed 24 hour care. Thus, according to their reasoning, the Judge, a man in the prime of life, was justified in seeking other companionship. But it was only in Mary's later years that she became infirm. What is surprising is that she remained a loyal Jehovah's Witness despite the shabby treatment she received by their leader, her husband.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Athanasius

    Considering how misleading are regarding her travels with with her husband is it possible the whole obit is a phoney? If we know she hadn't traveled with him for years and didn't even go to his funeral then how can we be sure she really remained a faithful dub? It just sounds too contrived and white-washed.

    Considering she was his wife (or widow) was there any mention in the WT of her death? Would they have mentioned it? Was her funeral as "well attended" as his was? Leo any way of digging around in the archives you have access to for this info?

    Hmmm I belong to an OBIT genealogy group. I may ask someone if they could find something on her.

    Am I the only one who thinks this obit is really odd?

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