Rutherford Exposed: The Story of Berta and Bonnie

by Farkel 739 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • frankiespeakin


    What is surprising is that she remained a loyal Jehovah's Witness despite the shabby treatment she received by their leader, her husband.

    Perhaps she was familiar with what happened to Mrs Russell and so decided to keep a low profile and play out the hand she was dealt.

    I'm sure with the organization providing her with a residence and perhaps other finacial support it was enough for her to keep her moth shut. The obituarry may be an exaduration of her loyalty because she was the wife of Rutherford. She may also not have had any knowledge of her husbands affairs,,and been completely duped like so many JWs.

  • larc

    Leolaia, thank you for the information from the 1920 Census. Somehow, I missed that in my geneological research. I guess I assumed that they moved around 1922, and didn't check the records. From what you posted, it is likely that the George she was living with was her brother. One question: did the Census record list her occupation? Last but not least, I want to thank you for doing the research you have done. I think it helped establish my credibility as to what I wrote. It also gives credability to the report of Berta's confession, since she died in the same city as was mentioned in the report of her confession.

  • VM44


    How about checking the census records as to who was living at "Beth Sarim"? Might provide some useful insight.

    Beth Sarim's address is 4440 Braeburn Road, San Diego, Ca., in the "Kensington Heights" area.

    The records might indicate how large a staff was required to maintain the house.

    I still would like to know how Rutherford got away using the organization's resources for his own benefit.


  • Leolaia

    Athanasius....I was able to uncover a lot of info on Mary Rutherford last month in the thread devoted to her, tho not necessarily shedding light on her religious affiliation: In 1930, she was living at 160 N. Primrose Avenue, Monrovia, Los Angeles, CA. She was listed in the census as married, but living alone, and her income was listed as "none". If she was an invalid who needed constant care, we might possibly expect someone else living at the address. But she lived alone. This would suggest that, if she had certain medical problems, she was at least able to live by herself. Second, she did not have an occupation and yet she had a house valued at $5,000 and seemed to take care of living expenses. What was the source of her income? Her estranged husband would be the most likely answer. She did have next door neighbors (Roy A. Swain and Carolyn R. Swain, with 4 children) who were also from Missouri, and Roy was the West Coast Rep. for L. L. Brown Paper Co. I have not been able to verify whether the Swains were Bible Students/JWs and whether L. L. Brown Paper Co. had a business relationship with the Watchtower Society (e.g. supplying paper), but it is possible that the Swains knew Mary Rutherford from Missouri and took care of her, if she needed to be.

    larc....Do you mean the occupation of Berta, or someone else? As mentioned already in this thread, Berta was not employed according to the 1930 census; she was the wife of Mr. Alfred L. Peale who himself was a machinist at the rubber factory. In the 1920 census, her occupation was stated as a clerk at the post office.

    VM44....With a little effort, I am sure I can find out who was living at Beth Sarim in 1930. Maybe I should post that in a separate thread. I already have the means to compile a roster of everyone residing at Bethel in 1920 and 1930, along with their specific occupations, ages, birthplaces and parental background, and veteran status. That might be useful for historical research, but I don't have the time yet to put it together.

  • Athanasius

    Hi Lady Lee,

    The Mary Rutherford obituary that appeared in the February 1963 Boonville Advertiser is not a phoney, however, it was supplied to the paper's editor by a JW which explains some of the embellishements. It is interesting that the Watch Tower book Jehovah's Witnesses--Proclaimers of God's Kingdom claims to quote from an obituary that appeared in a Monrovia newspaper. The quote appears at the bottom of page 89 as a footnote: "Sister Rutherford died December 17, 1962, at the age of 93. Notice of her death, appearing in the Monrovia, California Daily News--Post, stated: 'Until poor health confined her to her home, she took an active part in the ministerial work of Jehovah's Witnesses.'"

    Please note that the Watch Tower attributes the above quote to the Monrovia Daily News--Post. But this is not correct as only two notices appeared in the Daily News, December 18, 1962 and December 19, 1962. The December 18 notice said: "RUTHERFORD--MARY M., of 159 Stedman Place, passed away Monday evening at a local sanitarium. She is survived by a son, Malcolm C., of Monrovia. Services will be announced by Temple & LaGorge Mortuary."

    The December 19 notice states: "RUTHERFORD, MARY M.--Monrovia resident for twenty-two years. Mother of Malcolm B. Rutherford, of Monrovia. Services Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Temple & La Gorge Chapel." This is all that the Daily News says. I have quoted the notices in their entirety and as one can see, there is no mention of Mary's religious affiliation. By the way the Watch Tower was informed of this misquote.

    Shortly before his death I wrote to GB member Lloyd Barry and informed him of this error and suggested that in future editions of the Proclaimers book that the Boonville Advertiser be given proper credit for the quote. Copies of all three notices that appeared in the Daily News--Post and the Boonville Advertiser were enclosed for his examination. But it is doubtful that the publishers of a book full of errors and misquotes will make even one minor correction.

    Regarding Mary's source of income, her family was quite well off so it is possible that she had investments separate from JFR's. Therefore, she may not have been dependent on Watch Tower handouts.

    I don't know if Mary was very active in "the ministerial work of Jehovah's Witnesses." Did she really believe the goofy doctrines that her husband had formulated? I can't say. She was an active member of the Boonville Presbyterian Church when JFR married her in December 1891. Joe was Baptist but a Presbyterian minister performed the marriage ceremony. Over a decade would pass before Mary and Joe bought into the Watch Tower.

    My friend CW didn't say if Mary went door to door when she knew her in the 1950s. No doubt because of her advanced age she would have been inactive at this time. But CW did say that Mary was associated with the local congregation and did talk about her late husband's extracuricular activity .

  • frankiespeakin


    I'm curious:

    But CW did say that Mary was associated with the local congregation and did talk about her late husband's extracuricular activity .

    Could you be more specific? I know what the refference means but could you be specific here as to what your friend said.

  • minimus

    So.....what has been proven about Rutherford, Berta & Bonnie? Were they all involved sexually with each other (without a doubt)?

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee


    The Mary Rutherford obituary that appeared in the February 1963 Boonville Advertiser is not a phoney, however, it was supplied to the paper's editor by a JW which explains some of the embellishements.

    Yea that is what I thought. I didn't think it was phoney but it seems the WTS has a very long history of embellishing the facts and I thought the quote from the paper seemed a tad too embellished. It just didn't ring true. Now the other two obits sound much more realistic.

    Interesting info regarding CW and her knowledge of all this. Thank you for enlightening us.

  • Athanasius

    Hi Frank,

    My friend CW knew Mary Rutherford because they attended the same congregation. Whether Mary went out in the field service every Saturday and sold Watch Towers or was inactive CW didn't say and I didn't ask. Did Mary attend all the meetings on a regular basis or did she just attend Memorial? I can't answer. CW and her family were new to the Monrovia area in the 1950s and Mrs. Rutherford had lived there since the 1920s. Therefore, Mary must have maintained some association with the congregation for CW to have met her. CW also said that Mary would give her and her family presents around the Christmas Holidays.

    Regarding JFR's personal life, all CW related was that when the Judge would come out to California he would spend his time at Beth Sarim with his mistress and would never visit his wife. Since JFR's sex life is not the subject of my bookI haven't pursued this part of his career.

    But remember it was August 1987 when CW and I had that conversation. Had I known at the time that I would be writing a book about JFR I would have asked her specific questions and kept a tape recorder handy.

  • frankiespeakin


    Thanks for your imput I just wanted a little more detail is all. I wasn't questioning your truthfulness.

    Your clearifcation is much appreciated. It would be nice if you could contact CW and inquire? But I don't think you can now but it would be an interesting thread if you could.

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