The Witnesses however still believed that Jesus was executed on a traditional cross. No doubt Rutherford was uncomfortable about this, because this fact seemed to still legitimize the cross as a Christian symbol, and thus he saw the need to revise his assumptions about the Passion. Therefore, without much fanfare, he presented his new view in the book Riches. On page 27, he wrote: "Jesus was crucified, not on a cross of wood, such as exhibited in many images and pictures, and which images are made and exhibited by men; Jesus was crucified by nailing his body to a tree". It seems that Rutherford saw nothing wrong (as does the Society today) with using the word "crucify" to denote impalement. Therefore, according to the Society's own account, scholarship really had nothing to do with its adoption of the "torture stake" theory. It was entirely motivated by theological reasons long ago, yet it remains in vogue today because it offers a means of setting the JWs apart from other Christians as different and because the image of Jesus "impaled" on a single timber, expressed frequently through the Art Department, is so ingrained in the minds of most JWs. It is also possible that the Society has not a clue how weak and unsupported their position is on the matter.
You are awesome! Thanks for your hard work in putting that article together. I too believe that the exact instrument that was used to put Jesus to death is meaningless. What matters is that he gave his life for mankind. Rutherford wanted his religion to be unique. So why not make an issue of Jesus's instrument of torture. Playing the word game is not the only way to prove one way or another that Christ was executed on an upright stake or an upright stake intersected by a crossbeam. You ably showed that such a cross began as an instrument of torture or execution with the Persians and was then adopted by other nations. The wealth of sources that you cited shows that the stake and crossbeam method of torture and execution was in use centuries before the time of Christ and continued during his time and for centuries after his time.
I think that the WT is more concerned that the cross is used as an idol. In countless articles the WT has claimed that to give veneration to such an object is tantamount to idol worship and is disapproved by God. I say that the mere wearing of the cross around one's neck does not constitute idolatry. If wearers of the cross give active veneration and devotion to the cross and viewed such as a way to talk with God or they were to bow down and worship that image, I might agree that those wearers were committing idolatry.
I can no longer get bent out of shape because someone that believes in Christ wears a cross. Perhaps wearing of the cross is a reminder to them of the great sacrifice that Jesus made in their behalf. Maybe it serves as a comfort to them that someone loves them and is watching out for them. If such people that wear the cross are good and decent people that try to imitate Christ's example, how could God disapprove of them just because they wear a cross around their neck?
I can just imagine God in heaven saying to Jesus: "I want you to execute all those nasty cross believers. Ick. Can you believe such audacity? But I just loooove those peeps that believe in the upright stake dogma. They are just da bomb. Save all of those dogmatically correct persons. Jesus replies: But God, some of those upright stake believers are vile, why should I save them? God's answer: Because they don't believe in the cross silly. (God smacks himself in the head) Oy, Jesus, for the Son of God you are a wee bit slow on the uptake."
Ooh, I am feeling so evil that I am going to start wearing a cross and singing Amazing Grace at the same time. Is there any hope for me?