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

by run dont walk 42 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Sobeit

    Suppose reasons stated by Franz may have caused Rutherford's trial.

    Draft Registration Card of Herman Frederick Franz June 5, 1917

    states reason for draft exemption: "Member of International Bible Students Association"

  • Leolaia

    Hey, that's an interesting find. I have also found the draft card of August Balko, who later became the main caretaker of Beth Sarim; he also cited his exemption as because he was a "Millennial Dawnist".

    However, only one of the counts pertained to "interference" with the draft. The first count, as the indictment in the 1917 UNITED STATES VS. RUTHERFORD ET AL. states, pertained to "wilfully causing insubordination, disloyalty and refusal of duty in the military and naval forces of the United States of America when the United States was at war". The letters I posted on the previous page of this thread are seemingly instances of this, as the Bible Students were already at boot camp under the command of military officers, and the letters encourage them to disobey orders -- even alternative service.

  • blondie

    Why would the US and other governments find these words so offensive to view them as acts of sedition against the governments and obstructing the draft?


    w68 1/1 p. 12 How Great a Witness?

    On June 21, 1918, J. F. Rutherford and seven other members of the Watch Tower Society were sentenced to eighty years’ imprisonment on the charge of sedition.

    w55 5/1 p. 267 Part 9: Postwar Revival of the Witnesses ***

    Organizationally they remembered their sins, such as compromisingly cutting out pages 247-253 of The Finished Mystery, their seventh volume of Studies in the Scriptures, to please would-be censors, 247

    presented to them as truth — they must 'try the spirits,' whether they be holy or evil, of God or of the Evil One — the Spirit of Truth or the spirit of Error. These both are introduced by prophets, or teachers." — E320, 295.
    [Like] AS IT WERE frogs . — Frogs are garrulous, have a very wise look, large mouths, are much puffed up and Titter only croakings. In the "distress of nations with perplexity" which has come upon Christendom as a result of her sins, the croakings of the wise now fill the air everywhere. Actually all knees are "weak as water." — Ezek. 7:17; 21:7. See especially D i-xvi.
    Come out of the mouth of the dragon . — The three fundamental truths of history are man's Fall, Redemption and Restoration. Stated in other language these three truths are the mortal nature of man, the Christ of God and His Millennial Kingdom. Standing opposite to these Satan has placed three great untruths, human immortality, the Antichrist and a certain delusion which is best described by the word Patriotism, but which is in really murder, the spirit of the very Devil. It is this last and crowning feature of Satan's work that is mentioned first. The other two errors are the direct cause of this one. The wars of the Old Testament were all intended to illustrate the battlings of the New Creature against the weaknesses of the flesh, and are not in any sense of the word justification for the human butchery which has turned the earth into a slaughter-house. Nowhere in the New Testament is Patriotism (a narrow-minded hatred of other peoples) encouraged. Everywhere and always murder in its every form is forbidden; and yet, under the guise of Patriotism the civil governments of earth demand of peace-loving men the sacrifice of themselves and their loved ones and the butchery of their fellows, and hail it as a duty demanded by the laws of heaven.
    "Everybody of importance in the early years of the twentieth century was an ardent champion of peace. A crowd of royal peacemakers in a world surcharged with thought and threats of war, a band of lovers strolling down an avenue which they themselves had lined with lyddite shells and twelve-inch guns. Prince Bulow, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannermann, Mr. H. H. Asquith, Mr. John Hay, and Mr. Elihu Root, pacific in temper, eloquent in their advocacy of the cause of international good will, were a galaxy of peace-loving statesmen under a sky black with the thunder-clouds of war. English and German papers were discussing invasions, and the need of increased armaments, at the very time that twenty thousand Germans in Berlin were applauding to the echo the friendly greetings 248

    of a company of English visitors. While ten thousand boys and girls in Tokio were singing loving greetings to our naval officers, there were men in the United States rushing from city to city urging the people to prepare for an American-Japanese war. After each new peace conference there was a fresh cry for more guns. While the Palace of Peace at The Hague was building, nations hailed the advent of the airship as a glorious invention, because of the service it could render to the cause of war. The fountains from which there flowed these dark and swollen streams of war rumor were all located within the military and naval encampments. It was the experts of the army and navy who were always shivering at some new peril, and painting sombre pictures of what would happen in case new regiments were not added to the army and additional battleships were not voted for the fleet. It was in this way that legislative bodies came to think that possibly the country was really in danger; and looking round for a ground on which to justify new expenditures for war material, they seized upon an ancient pagan maxim — furnished by the military experts — 'If you wish peace, prepare for war.' No guns were asked for to kill men with — guns were mounted as safeguards of the peace. No battleships were launched to fight with — they were preservers of the peace. Colossal armies and gigantic navies were exhibited as a nation's ornaments — beautiful tokens of its love of peace. The expenditure crushed the poorest of the nations and crippled the richest of them, but the burden was gladly borne for the cause.
    "The most virulent and devastating disease of humanity now raging on the earth is militarism. There are demon suggestions which obtain so firm a grip upon the mind that it is difficult to banish them. The naval experts of Germany are dragging the German Empire ever deeper into debt, unabashed by the ominous mutterings of a coming storm. The naval experts of England go right on launching Dreadnaughts, while the number of British paupers grows larger with the years, and all British problems become increasingly baffling and alarming. The naval experts of Russia plan for a new billion-dollar navy, notwithstanding Russia's national debt is four and one-quarter billion dollars, and to pay her current expenses she is compelled to borrow seventy-five million dollars every year. With millions of her people on the verge of starvation, and beggars swarming through the streets of her cities and round the stations of her railways, the naval experts go on asking new appropriations tor guns and military equipment. 249

    "Like many another fever, militarism grows by what it feeds on, and unless checked by heroic measures is certain to burn the patient up. Bereft of reason are the nations by Satan's ingenious and terrible final beclouding of the minds of men.
    "The militarist is comic in his seriousness. He says that if you want to keep the peace you must prepare for war, and yet he knows that where men prepare for war by carrying bowie knives, peace is a thing unheard of, and that where every man is armed with a revolver, the list of homicides is longest. Like many other diseases, militarism is contagious. One nation can be infected by another until there is an epidemic round the world. Is it possible, some one asks, for a world to become insane? That a community can become crazy was proven by Salem, in the days of the witchcraft delusion; that a city can lose its head was demonstrated by London, at the time of the Gunpowder Plot; that a continent can become the victim of an hallucination was shown when Europe lost its desire to live, and waited for the end of the world in the year 1000. Why should it be counted incredible that many nations, bound together by steam and electricity, should fall under the spell of a delusion, and should act for a season like a man who has gone mad?
    "All the great nations are today facing deficits, caused in every case by the military and naval experts.
    "Everything in Germany, Italy, Austria, England and Russia is held back by the confiscation of the proceeds of industry carried on for the support of the army and navy. In the United States the development of our resources is checked by this same fatal policy. We have millions of acres of desert land to be irrigated, millions of acres of swamp land to be drained, thousands of miles of inland waterways to be improved, harbors to be deepened, canals to be dug, and forests to be safeguarded, and yet for all these works of cardinal importance we can afford only a pittance. We have not sufficient money to pay decent salaries to our United States judges, or to the men who represent us abroad. We have pests, implacable and terrible, like the gypsy moth, and plagues like tuberculosis, for whose extermination millions of money are needed at once." — C. E. Jefferson, American Association for International Conciliation. — Z.'09-179.
    The first expenditure of the United States Government ($7,000,000,000), upon entering the world war, was 27% in excess of value of all the crops harvested in the United States in the banner year of its history. This amount would gridiron the country with macadam roads six miles 250

    apart, east and west, north and south. It is double the capital and surplus of every bank in the country. It is equal to our entire cost for education, from kindergarten to university, for ten years.
    "War is in open and utter violation of Christianity. If war is right, then Christianity is wrong, false, a He. If Christianity is right, then war is wrong, false, a lie. The God revealed by Jesus, and by every spiritual leader of the race, is no God of battles. He lifts no sword — He asks no sacrifice of human blood. His spirit is love, His rule is peace, His method of persuasion is forgiveness. His law, as interpreted and promulgated by the Nazarene, is 'love one another,' 'resist not evil with evil,' 'forgive seventy times seven,' 'overcome evil with good,' 'love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.' Such a God and such a law, others may reconcile with war, if they can. I cannot; and what I cannot do, I will not profess to do. But I must go farther — I must speak not only of war in general, but of this war in particular. Most persons are quite ready to agree, especially in the piping times of peace, that war is wrong. But let a war cloud no bigger than a man's hand appear on the horizon of the nation's life, and they straightway begin to qualify their judgment; and if the war cloud grows until it covers all the heavens, they finally reverse it.
    "This brings about the curious situation of all war being wrong in general, and each war being right in particular. Germans denounce war, with the exception of course of the present conflict with England. Englishmen condemn war, but exclude from their indictment the present fight against the central Empires. If you tell me that this war is fought for the integrity of international law, I must ask you why it is directed only against Germany and not also against England, which is an equal, although far less terrible, violator of covenants between nations? If you say it is fought on behalf of the rights of neutrals, I must ask you where, when and by what belligerent the rights of neutrals have been conserved in this war, and what guarantee you can offer that, after all our expenditure of blood and money for their defense, these rights will not be similarly violated all over again in the next war by any nation which is battling for its life? If you say that it is fought for the security of American property and lives, I must ask you how and to what extent it will be safer for our citizens to cross the seas after the declaration of war than it was before? If you say that it is fought in vindication 251

    of our national honor, I must ask you why no harm has come to the honor of other nations, such as Holland and Scandinavia, for example, which have suffered even more than we, but which, for prudential reasons, refuse to take up arms? If you say it is a war of defense against wanton and intolerable aggression, I must reply that every blow which we have endured has been primarily a blow directed not against ourselves but against England, and that it has yet to be proved that Germany has any intention or desire of attacking us. If you say that this was is a life-and-death struggle for the preservation of civilization against barbarism, I must ask you why we remained neutral when Belgium was raped, and were at last aroused to action, not by the cries of the stricken abroad, but by our own losses in men and money? If you say that this war is a last resort in a situation which every other method, patiently tried, has failed to meet, I must answer that this is not true — that other ways and means of action, tried by experience and justified by success, have been laid before the administration and wilfully rejected.
    "In its ultimate causes, this was is the natural product of our unchristian civilization. Its armed men are grown from the dragon's teeth of secret diplomacy, imperialistic ambition, dynastic pride, greedy commercialism, economic exploitation at home and abroad. In the sowing of these teeth, America has had her part; and it is therefore only proper, perhaps, that she should have her part also in the reaping of the dreadful harvest. In its more immediate causes, this war is the direct result of unwarrantable, cruel, but none the less inevitable interferences with our commercial relations with one group of the belligerents. Our participation in the war, therefore, like the war itself, is political and economic, not ethical, in its character. Any honor, dignity, or beauty which there may be in our impending action, is to be found in the impulses, pure and undefiled, which are actuating many patriotic hearts today, and not at all in the real facts of the situation. The war itself is wrong. Its prosecution will be a crime. There is not a question raised, an issue involved, a cause at stake, which is worth the life of one blue-jacket on the sea or one khaki-coat in the trenches." — Rev. John Haynes Holmes, Church of the Messiah, Park Ave. and 34th St., New York City.
    And out of the mouth of the beast . — The Antichrist doctrine of the Divine right of the clergy was the direct cause of the great war. This frog has been coming out of the mouth of the Papal beast for sixteen centuries. "The German Kaiser's reported proclamation to his army in 252

    Poland reads: 'Remember you (my army) are God's elect God's spirit has descended on me because I am Emperor of Germany. I am Jehovah's sword. His representative, the instrument of the Most High. Woe and death be to those who resist my will! and to all who do not believe my mission, and to cowards in my army! The enemies of the German people shall perish. God demands their destruction. He it is who through me commands yon to fulfill His will!' These false doctrines of the Dark Ages are bearing a terrible fruitage in the present war. Similarly the teaching of eternal torment, misrepresenting and blaspheming God's character, is bearing an evil fruitage. Millions of people are being turned away from faith in a God of Love and from faith in the Bible as His Message by the most monstrous blasphemies of the Dark Ages. I charge the responsibility of all this against the sects and creeds of Christendom. I charge that the ministers, whose eyes are now open to a saner comprehension, have neglected the Bible, have neglected the people, and, instead of helping them out of the darkness, are now leading them into darkness in an opposite direction — into Evolution and Higher Criticism and everything contrary to the Word of God. God is still misrepresented in the world. The creeds of the Dark Ages are still hugged to the bosom in outward pretense, while inwardly they are loathed. A great fraud, a great hypocrisy, you say? I answer, Yes; the most astounding the world has ever known. Two hundred thousand professed ministers of God and of Christ are standing before the "world today telling the legends of the Dark Ages and seeking to hinder the people from coming to a knowledge of the Truth, meanwhile receiving the people's money and reverence. Does not such hypocrisy, such blasphemy again God, such deception of the people, such keeping of them in darkness, deserve a great punishment, and is it not nigh?" — B. S. M.
    "In all the warring countries the professed ministers of Christ are acting as recruiting agents. All kinds of arguments are used to persuade the young men of the country, contrary to the teachings of the Master. The same men who are accustomed to laugh at the declaration that the Turkish soldiers in former wars were promised, in the event of death, a sure passport to Heavenly Paradise — these same ministers are now urging all the eligible with whom they have influence to prepare to go to battle to lay down their lives. While the Germans have on every battle flag and upon their soldiers' belts, 'God with us,' the British ministers are quoting Bible texts to encourage enlistment of their young men and to throw a halo of 253

    glory upon their soldier dead." (Z.'15-267.) "The clergy are finding themselves in a tight place. They are expected to be faithful to their country, right or wrong. They are expected to preach the War as the will of God and the going to war as a meritorious matter that will have Divine reward and blessing. They must encourage recruiting, in obedience to the commands of their earthly king, and in violation of the commands of the Heavenly King, who has directed them to be peacemakers, and to follow peace with all men and do no murder, either under legal sanction or otherwise." (Z.'15-276.) "Recently in Canada the Editor was astounded by the activity of the preachers there — especially those of the Church of England. One was out in khaki uniform marching through the streets with the volunteers. Asked by a college friend, 'Did I see you in the ranks?' he answered, 'Yes, I wanted to encourage the boys.' 'And did you think of going to the front, to the trenches?' 'Not a bit of it!' He was merely acting as a decoy to get others to the front; just as a bull which they have at one of the Chicago stockyards, meets the. animals about to be slaughtered and, tossing his head in the air, becomes their leader up the gangway leading to the slaughter. There he knows his little niche, into which he glides and is sheltered; while the others drive and press one another forward to the slaughter." — Z.'15-259.
    And out of the mouth of the false prophet, — The one cardinal error upon which all protestant (false prophet) sects agree is the doctrine of human immortality, the original lie told in Eden. (Gen. 2:17; 3:4) In speaking of it our Lord says, "When he speaketh the lie, he speaketh of his own." (John 8:44, Diaglott.) Speaking of it again, the Apostle Paul says, of the worshipers of the beast and his image, "They admitted not the love of the Truth that they might be saved. And on this account God will send to them an energy of delusion, to their believing the falsehood." (2 Thes. 2:10,11.) In each case the Greek gives the definite article. The frog issuing from the false prophet (the image of the beast) is the doctrine of human immortality. These deluded souls actually believe this error, and will be able to prove it to the satisfaction of the dragon, without a doubt. This error lies at the bottom of the doctrines of eternal torment and of the trinity. There is a hint in 1 John 4:1-8 that the cardinal error on which the false prophet will insist is that when Jesus came from the Father He was more than flesh, i e., had at least an immortal soul. — Rev. 13:11,13,14,15; 14:9,11; 15: 2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:10; Matt 24:24

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    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.

    Very interesting quote in this book. Did I not read in the society's pubs somewhere that the watchtower had never missed a single issue since it started to be published? Does anyone else remember that statement, or where to find it? This seems to be a total reversal of that statement if it is true.



  • Terry
    OldHippie said:

    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?


    That was NOT my choice.

    I was presented with ALTERNATE SERVICE in a hospital and the Overseer would NOT ALLOW me to make that choice.

    The Judge was disgusted with my unwillingness to do any community service at all instead of Military Service. That is why the brothers were in prison. DON'T YOU FOLKS REALIZE THAT?

    We all would have spent two years HELPING PEOPLE in a hospital instead of wasting time in prison.

    That is the dirty little secret the JW's seem unable to cope with.

    The law provided Conscientious Objectors with an alternative to military duty by sentencing them directly into hospitals but the bloody Watchtower Society short-circuited that! They wanted poster boys and martyrs, so, they secretly advised EACH of us privately NOT to take the alternative service by telling us it was a COMPROMISE.

    Why don't you know this????

    I spent two wasted years because of a (secret) mindless pollicy of men and did nobody any good whatsoever.


  • blondie

    I think some issues were published but perhaps not on the machines at Brooklyn. I don't think any issues were skipped; if they were, please note here which ones they were. Thanks.


    5/1 p. 285 Sharing the Good News by Contributing Personally ***

    BACK in August, 1879, this magazine said: "‘Zion’s Watch Tower’ has, we believe, JEHOVAH for its backer, and while this is the case it will never beg nor petition men for support. When He who says: ‘All the gold and silver of the mountains are mine,’ fails to provide necessary funds, we will understand it to be time to suspend the publication." The Society did not suspend publication, and The Watchtower has never missed an issue. Why? Because during the nearly eighty years since The Watchtower stated this policy of reliance upon Jehovah God, the Society has not deviated from it.


    w56 11/15 p. 693 Faithful Stewardship ***

    The official magazine of the Society is The Watchtower and it has been published since July, 1879, and never has one issue missed publication.

  • luna2

    Its too bad they didn't leave Rutherford in prison for his full 20-year sentance. Maybe the cult would have quietly faded into obscurity.

  • Leolaia

    Terry....Does the letter by Giovanni DeCecca on the previous page make your blood boil? That was one of the first times the WTS ever advised someone to refuse alternative service, the whole policy got its start there....

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    I have a question that perhaps someone can clear up. In some places we are told that Rutherford & Co. were sentenced to twenty years, while in other places we are told it was eighty years. What is the reason for that discrepancy?

  • IP_SEC

    The wrongful imprisonment/exhonoration of the WTS officials is one of the primary ways that dubs show that they were chosen by christ in 1919. I mean look at the Revelation, Daniel and Isaiah books. Constant refs to the 70 years captivity of the Jews and the suposed babylonish captivity of the IBS in 1918.

    It would sure be nice to see some court transcripts from that trial and what documents might exist about their release. Then we could compair what the docs say versus what the WTS says.

    Any ideas on how to get those docs?


    Oooh sorry blonde, didnt see your link up there. Nice. I will have to go back and read that!

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