Why were Watchtower officials (Rutherford) imprisioned in 1917/1918/1919 ??

by run dont walk 42 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • MerryMagdalene


    this works (just had to take that backslash off the end)


  • Leolaia

    Oct. 24 1917

    From: Jerry DeCessa
    Co. A 304th Infantry
    Camp Devens, Ayer, MA

    Dear Bro. & Sr. in Christ--

    Well Bro. Nicita and I had a fine time together yesterday at the Class in Lowell. He surely is a fine brother. Well John the thing I have been waiting for finally happened. This A.M. the Captain ordered me to fall in line to drill and I told him I would have to refuse as I have consecrated my life to do the Lord's will, so then he sent me to the guard house to await court martial. If you write Bro. Nicita let him know that I am at the 151st Regiment guard house so if he wants he can come to see me, but if you write to me send it to the old address and then one of the guards brings it to us, don't send it to this address. Well so far they have treated me quite well, there are about 20 others here for different reasons but one fellow believes exactly as we do. Well, dear folks, I'm trusting in the Lord his will be done pray for me that I may be strong in his service. Give my Christian love to all the dear friends who know me there. Write soon your brother in Christ and in the flesh.


  • blondie

    Thanks, merry. I usually check those.


  • Leolaia

    Novembre 14th, 1917
    Brooklyn, N. Y.

    To: Jerry DeCecca
    2nd Sepet Co. 8th Bn. Depot Brigade
    Camp Devens, Ayer, MA

    Dear Jerry:

    Your letter of 10 Nov. writtin together with Bro. C. N. was received; very glad to hear from you. Glad to know that you are well, still trusting in the Lord's grace, and hope that you will continue to the very end of your earthly career.

    And now you would like to know if you sould do some work in the Hospeetal, ecc. If it would be right or wrong. Well, Jerry, we cannot tell you or any other what they sould do or should not do. It is for each one to deciding for himself what to do, the only thing we can do, one to another is, to advising according to the word of God, and so I will just tell you what I would do if I sould find myself under the same conditions as you are. I would settle the matter once for all timel add this is what I would do: As soon as I reach the camp I would try to have an interview with the General-Major General, and tell him that I was there under protest, that is, I was brought there by force and not by my own will. I would tell hime that I could not take any part whatsoever in the military service, because it was against the teaching of the Word o God. And I had consacrated myself to do the Lord's will -- as a good soldier of the Cross of Christ....And that having made a full consacration of myself unto the Lord, I could not serve any others, and brack my Covenant with God of my salvation, and particularly in the service of Warr! And if the General or any one else sould say to me; Well, we understand your position, we know that you conscience will not permet you to do wrong, to do to fight, etc. but we will give you some work that would not be warr. I would answer, that there was nothing that it was not warr! To me was all Warr! And if he should say: I will give you a Hospital work, would you like to do that! I would answer no! And if he say to me why you would not work in the hospetal! I would answer thus: Because to me is all WAR! It is one big macchinery working together, and that machenery was composed of many parts, but the one big name was WAR!! MILITARISM. So long as I was working under there orders to me was military service--War! To do some thing in order to avoid punishment ecc., it would meen to compromising, and violating the principles of the teaching of God's word. But he may say: Why would you not work in the hospetal, or any other good work? I would answer that, so longo as I was doing it under the military order is was WRONG for me to do, I know that by refusing their order, but if I would not rifusing it, that would meen that I would have to compromising the Truth, and violeting the principles of my belief -- the teaching of the BIBLE...

    Now Jerry, since you have put on the uniform and probable that you have already done some kind of work, I think you better keep on doing some work that you will be order to do, and that you think it will be alreight, that is, does not both you conscience. Working in the Hospetal is not a bad work...But ... as I said in the beginning of this letter that I would make myself very plain to the High offece as soon as I get at the Camp, and if he or any other offece would order me to do work in any form I WOULD REFUSE TO DO IT.

    If we believe that this war is the last one, and that all the kingdom must go down, so the kindom of Christ be established, should we have any part in the military service? I answer No! I would not do the slite thing, it is all War! as long as it is Militarism, it is War! We cannot make those offecers see, because they look at the matter for another standpoint, but it is our business and duty to let them know by take a stand for what we believe....

    I think I have said enough. Now Jerry, do not do what I said I would do, but use your own conscience about the matter, if you think that you can stand the trials then do what you think it is right for you to do. As for me I will serve the Lord alone! "Do what is right, and comes what may."

    My the Lord bless you and all tha dear Brethren, more and more in these trials times. With lots of love, I am Your Bro. in Christ and in the flesh.


  • Terry

    The Communist Party and the Watchtower Society used exactly the same tactics to preserve its own preferred image of its history by expunging anything that was evidence contrary to the officially published view.

    Nobody ever dreamed there would one day be an Internet where we could all see with our own eyes photographic files of actual publications and court documents.

    Compare the OFFICIAL statements of the Governing Body with the actual events and you always see a glaring misrepresentation of insidious proportions.

    What does this tell you about the intellectual honesty of the Brooklyn brothers? They are self-made liars.

    Soldiers serving in the military were given direct advice to not perform their service (which the soldier had sworn to do). This is different from passively printing religious opinions and allowing another person to make up their own mind. The men in the military received ACTIVE PERSONAL counsel.

    When I was approached by the Congregation Overseer (before Elder arrangement) and the Asst. Overseer in 1967, they told me three things.

    1.Never tell anybody we advised you. Say you came to these conclusions using your own conscience.

    2.Never quote any of the Society's publications as reason for your refusal to serve in the Miltary. You have to say it was a personal conviction that came from prayer.

    3.You cannot accept alternative service to actual military service. You cannot work in a hospital or for a charity or for the community. That will diminish your usefulness to Jehovah as an example for the other brothers.

    So, they were up to the same old meddling in people's personal business and directly defying the government, BUT, WITHOUT THE COURAGE OF THEIR OWN CONVICTIONS to take the heat themselves!


    It cost me two years of my life and it cost them nothing.


  • Quentin

    ...That will diminish your usefulness to Jehovah as an example for the other brothers.

    Sad, isn't it?...that's what it was all about...worked too...I wanted so much to go before a judge and be a martyr for Jehovah...I remember Larry D, he got out before you, latched on to every word he said...picked up the lingo too...joint, hack, AW, on the square...much of it forgotten now...I so much wanted to go...knew I'd never make Bethel...to me that would have been even better...what so many gave and others were willing to give, all because someone said do this and it will please God.

    Always had fond memories of Gene and George(for those who don't know, the two overseers)...makes a difference when you get to peek under the dress.

  • TheOldHippie

    "It cost me two years of my life and it cost them nothing."

    Would it have been better to have to go to Viet Nam and participate in the US terrorist war against the Viet Namese people, killing innocent peasants and perhaps being killed yourself?

  • trevor


    Punished for Falling Asleep - 1917 to 1925

    Returning to the years leading up to 1919 the Society had many problems, resulting at one point in the publication of the Watchtower coming to a halt for the first time in forty years. Some thought this was the end of the Society. Eight of the leaders were given twenty-year prison sentences for violation of the Espionage Act. The Brooklyn Headquarters were closed down.

    With World War I at its peak, feelings against the members were running high, owing to their refusal to join the War movement. Also, their claim that all religions and governments, other than their own of course, are run by Satan the Devil. A series of attacks on individuals followed and the movement came to a standstill .A short time later the charges were reviewed and the leaders were released in 1919. This brief pause in the Society's printing activity and short imprisonment of its key figures is said to have fulfilled numerous Bible prophecies:

    “The Kingdom of the heavens will become like ten virgins …while the bridegroom was delayed they all nodded and went to sleep.” (Matthew 25:1-5) This nodding and falling asleep is said to be a pictorial prophecy concerning the chosen ones of Jehovah's Witnesses who, disappointed that Jesus had not returned in 1914, fell asleep spiritually. As a penalty for their sleepy attitude, Jehovah God saw to it that the Watchtower leaders were punished with imprisonment. They explain:

    “In 1919, following the release of eight prominent members of the Watchtower Bible

    and Tract Society from unjust imprisonment, it was the due time for the virgin classes to be aroused from their sleepy inactivity. The work of worldwide enlightenment lay ahead.” (Book - Worldwide Security Under the Prince of Peace. Page 41)

    The virgins in the Bible prophecy, whose lamp oil had run out, while they were asleep, were said to be the members who had left because they disagreed with the way Judge Rutherford was running the Society.

    A master gives money to his servants to speculate with while he is away. One slave hides his money in the ground and makes no profit for his master so when the master returns he throws him out. (Matthew 25:13-30) The money is said to represent a commission given to the Society to gain converts. The lazy slave, who made no profit, is supposed to represent those who left Rutherford and any who leave now. It is also said to represent all Christian clergymen.

    “Strike the shepherd and let those of the flock be scattered; and I shall certainly turn my hand back upon those who are insignificant.” (Zechariah 13:7 NWT) This prophecy is referring to Israel. The Society claims that they are the flock scattered during the War years and re-gathered in 1919. As usual they “did not then appreciate that it was being fulfilled on them then.” (God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years - Page 352) This prophecy actually refers to the death of Christ as the shepherd. (Clearly shown in Matthew 26:31)

    Jesus cleanses the temple. (Malachi 3:1-5) This scriptural text is also claimed and applied to 1919.

    “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall wake up, some to everlasting life, some to reproaches and eternal abhorrence.” (Daniel 12:2 NE) This is said to refer to the Witnesses of Jehovah God as “laying dead in the very streets of this worldly organization. They were as asleep in death.”

    A mighty king persecutes God’s holy ones for 3 ½ times. (Daniel 7:23-28) Also said to refer to the three and a half years of difficulty the Society experienced.

    The removal of “the continual sacrifice by the desolating abomination.” (Daniel 12:11) This is generally thought to be a reference to the Roman armies destroying the temple in Jerusalem and ending the Jewish custom of animal sacrifices. The Society claim that, the removal of sacrifice also refers to their imprisonment. The abomination – The League of Nations set up in 1919.

    “The hand of the lord came upon me and he carried me out by his spirit and put me down in a plain full of bones… these bones are the whole people of Israel… I will open your graves and bring you up from them, and restore you to the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 37:1,11-13 NE)

    This is a straightforward prophecy repeating the Biblical promise to restore Israel to its land - again the Society says this is another reference to them and their release from prison in 1919.

    “ …the Lord himself will descend from heaven; first the Christian dead will rise, then we who are left shall join them, caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 NE) Yes, once again this text is claimed and applied to the re-launch of the Watchtower Society in 1919:

    “In that first post war period there was an awakening from the inactive death like state .The sanctuary class wanted to be alive and expend their strength, time and means giving a worldwide witness to establish God’s Kingdom.” (Your Will be Done on Earth – Page 326)

    These and other scriptural texts from many different Bible books are taken by the Watchtower Society and applied to the imprisonment and release of eight men in America. Was the whole Bible, with all its prophets and apostles, really written with 1919 and the Watchtower Society in mind? May I suggest you read the texts I have cited in your own Bible, in full, to see whether their context allows for such an application?

    One of the most important dates in the Society's history is 1919. Whether the Society’s claim that these Bible prophecies were fulfilled on them makes any sense, is of vital importance. If it is decided that these scriptures cannot be applied in this way, then the entire basis for their movement collapses.

    Is it feasible that all these Bible prophecies, and many more not shown here, could really apply exclusively to a handful of men in America in 1919? It is even less likely when we remember that much of the information being printed by them at the time was inaccurate and is no longer believed by the present day Society.

    The Societies intense introspection has distorted their perspective. At that time the world was preoccupied with the greatest war it had so far experienced. The terrible conditions many suffered on the battlefields, coupled with the casualties returning home either maimed or dead, left the powers that be with very little time to worry about eight men in jail in America many miles from the war zone.

    World War I ended and the most difficult time in the Watchtower Society was behind them. Rather than taking up a Christian ministry they renewed their campaign against all religious and political establishments. The difficulties they had been through were once again claimed to be in direct fulfilment of Bible prophecy.

    From the book’ Opening the Door to Jehovah’s Witnesses - by Trevor Willis - See my profile for free download.

  • TheOldHippie

    Was the whole Bible, with all its prophets and apostles, really written with 1919 and the Watchtower Society in mind?

    Of course, and especially so Isaiah ............

  • M.J.

    Here's one of my favorite quotes. It says that the imprisonment of these yo-yo's was in fulfilment of the vision in Revelation of the two witnesses who died and were resurrected.

    *** Revelation Climax chap. 25 pp. 167-168 Reviving the Two Witnesses ***

    From 1914 to 1918 the nations were occupied with the first world war. Nationalistic feelings ran high, and in the spring of 1918, the religious enemies of the two witnesses took advantage of the situation. They maneuvered the State’s legal apparatus so that responsible ministers of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society were imprisoned on false charges of sedition. Faithful coworkers were stunned. Kingdom activity almost ceased. It was as though the preaching work were dead. In Bible times it was a terrible indignity not to be interred in a memorial tomb. (Psalm 79:1-3; 1 Kings 13:21, 22) Therefore, great reproach would attach to leaving the two witnesses unburied. In the hot Palestinian climate, a corpse in the open street would really start to smell after three and a half literal days. (Compare John 11:39.) This detail in the prophecy thus indicates the shame that the two witnesses had to endure. Those mentioned above who were imprisoned were even denied bail while their cases were on appeal. They were exposed publicly long enough to become a stench to the inhabitants of "the great city." But what was this "great city"?

    I do happen to agree with the part about the stench...

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