Template:Jehovah's Witnesses Joseph Franklin Rutherford (8 November 1869—8 January 1942), often referred to as "Judge" Rutherford, was the second president of the legal corporation Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the primary corporate body of the Bible Students, and subsequently by Jehovah's Witnesses.

Rutherford took up a career in law, working as a court stenographer, trial lawyer and prosecutor and developed an interest in the doctrines of Watch Tower Society president Charles Taze Russell, which led him to become a baptized Bible Student in 1906. He became legal counsel for the Watch Tower Society in 1907 and a traveling representative until his election as president in 1917.

Biographers describe Rutherford as a powerful orator with a blunt and forthright manner. His early presidency was marked by a bitter battle with the Society's board of directors, with four of its seven members accusing him of autocratic behavior and seeking to reduce his powers. Rutherford overcame the challenge by gaining a legal opinion that his four opposers were not legally directors and replaced them with four new sympathetic directors.[1][2] Twelve legal opinions subsequently obtained by the four ousted directors claimed Rutherford's actions were "wholly unlawful". The leadership crisis divided the Bible Student community and helped contribute to the loss of one-seventh of the Watch Tower adherents by 1919.

He and six other Watch Tower executives were jailed in 1918 after charges were laid over the publication of The Finished Mystery, a book deemed "seditious" for its anti-war comments.[3]

Rutherford introduced many organizational and doctrinal changes that helped shape the beliefs and practices of today's Jehovah's Witnesses.[4][5] He imposed on the worldwide Bible Student movement a centralized administrative structure he later called a theocracy, required all members of the religion to distribute literature and preach door to door and provide regular reports of their activity[6][7] and instituted public speaking training programs as part of their weekly worship meetings. He established 1914 as the date of Christ's invisible return, asserted that Christ died on a tree rather than a cross,[8][9] formulated the current Witness concept of Armageddon as God's war on the wicked and reinforced the belief that the start of Christ's millennial reign was imminent. He directed that adherents not celebrate customs such as Christmas and birthdays, salute national flags or sing national anthems and in his last years directed that hymns not be sung at meetings. He introduced the name "Jehovah's witnesses" in 1931 and coined the name "Kingdom Hall" for houses of worship in 1935.[10]

He wrote 21 books and was credited by the Society in 1942 with having put almost 400 million books and booklets in the hands of individuals.[11] The number of adherents increased more than sixfold during Rutherford's 25 years as president.[12][13] Authors William Whalen and James Penton have claimed that Rutherford was to Russell what Brigham Young was to Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. Penton contends that both Russell and Smith were capable religious leaders but naive visionaries, while Rutherford and Young were "hard-bitten pragmatists who gave a degree of permanency to the movements they dominated".[14]

Early life and law career

Rutherford was born in Boonville, Missouri on November 8, 1869 to a Baptist farm family and raised in near poverty.[15] Rutherford developed an interest in law from the age of 16.[16] Although his father discouraged this interest, he allowed Rutherford to go to college provided he could pay for a laborer to take his place on the family farm. Rutherford took out a loan[17] and helped to pay for his law studies by working as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman and court stenographer.[18]

He spent two years as a judge's intern, became an official court reporter at age 20 and was admitted to the Missouri bar in May 1892 at age 22.[19] He became a trial lawyer for a law firm[20] and later served for four years in Boonville as a public prosecutor. He campaigned briefly for Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan.[21] He was appointed a Special Judge[22] in the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri,[23][24] sitting as a substitute judge at least once when a regular judge was unable to hold court.[25] His appointment earned him the sobriquet "Judge" Rutherford. He was admitted to the New York bar in 1909 and admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court the same year.[26]

Rise to Watch Tower Society presidency

From baptism to the Board


Joseph F. Rutherford

In 1894 Rutherford bought three volumes of Charles Taze Russell's Millennial Dawn series of Bible studies from two colporteurs (Watch Tower Society preachers) who visited his office. Rutherford, who viewed all religions as insincere, shallow and hypocritical, was struck by Russell's sincerity and his sentiments towards religion, which mirrored his own view.[27][28] Rutherford immediately wrote to the Watch Tower Society to tell them he and his wife found the books a godsend.[29] He was baptized 12 years later and he and his wife began holding Bible classes in their home.[30] The following year, 1907, he became legal counsel for the Watch Tower Society at its Pittsburgh headquarters to handle its court cases, and from around that time began to give public talks as a "pilgrim" representative (travelling overseer) of the Society.[31] As Russell's health deteriorated, Rutherford represented him on trips to Europe[32] and in April 1915 he deputised for him at a major debate with Baptist preacher J.H. Troy over four nights in Los Angeles before an audience of 12,000,[33][34][35] debating such subjects as the state of the dead, hellfire and Christ's Second Coming.[36] Rutherford wrote a pamphlet, A Great Battle in the Ecclestiastical Heavens, in defence of Russell[37] and served as chairman of the Bible Students' Los Angeles convention in September 1916.

By 1916 Rutherford had become one of the seven directors of the Watch Tower Society and when Russell died on October 13, 1916 he was chosen – with Vice-President Alfred I. Ritchie and Secretary-Treasurer William E. Van Amburgh – to form a three-man executive committee to run the Pennsylvania corporation until a new president was elected at the annual general meeting the following January.[38] He also joined a five-man editorial committee to run The Watchtower from the December 15, 1916 issue. Russell had decreed in his will that after his death the magazine was to be managed by an editorial committee of five[39] and he had named the five men he wished to form the committee. He had placed Rutherford fourth on a second list of five alternate members to fill any vacancies that arose.[40]

Bible Student Alexander H. Macmillan, who served as an aide to the executive committee, later wrote that tensions at Watch Tower headquarters mounted as the day for election of the Society's officers approached. He observed: "A few ambitious ones at headquarters were holding caucuses here and there, doing a little electioneering to get their men in. However, Van Amburgh and I held a large number of votes. Many shareholders, knowing of our long association with Russell, sent their proxies to us to be cast for the one whom we thought best fitted for office."[41] Macmillan, who claimed he had declined an offer from an ailing Russell months earlier to accept the position of Society president after his death,[42] agreed with Van Amburgh that Rutherford was the best candidate. He wrote: "Rutherford did not know what was going on. He certainly didn't do any electioneering or canvassing for votes, but I guess he was doing some worrying, knowing if he was elected he would have a big job on his hands ... There is no doubt in our minds that the Lord's will was done in this choice. It is certain that Rutherford himself had nothing to do with it."[43]

Rutherford vs Board of Directors

On January 6, 1917, Rutherford, aged 47, was elected President of the Watch Tower Society, unopposed, at the Pittsburgh convention. Controversy soon followed. Author Tony Wills claims there is evidence that nominations were suspended once Rutherford had been nominated, depriving shareholders of the chance to cast thousands of votes for other candidates[44][45] and within months Rutherford felt the need to defend himself against rumors within the Brooklyn Bethel that he had used "political methods" to secure his election. In the first volley of what became a bitter pamphlet war by opposing sides, Rutherford told Bible Students: "There is no person on earth who can truthfully say that I ever asked them directly or indirectly to vote for me."[46]

By June the rumblings surrounding Rutherford's elevation to President were turning into what he called a "storm"[47] that ruptured the Watch Tower Society for the remainder of 1917. The seeds had been sown in January[48] when Bethel pilgrim Paul S.L. Johnson, sent to England following Russell's death with orders to inspect the management and finances of the Society's London corporation,[49] dismissed two managers of the corporation, seized its funds and attempted to reorganize the body. When Rutherford, who was convinced Johnson was insane and suffering religious delusions, ordered his recall to New York in late February, Johnson refused and claimed he was answerable only to the full Board of Directors.[50] When he did finally return to New York and apologise to the Bethel family for his excesses in London,[51] Johnson became caught up in a move against Rutherford by four of the seven Watch Tower Society directors.

J.F. Rutherford
At issue were new by-laws that had been passed in January by both the Pittsburgh convention and the Board of Directors, stating that the President would be the executive officer and general manager of the Society, giving him full charge of its affairs worldwide.[52] Opinions on the need for the by-laws were sharply divided. Rutherford maintained that Russell, as president, had always acted as the Society's manager, and the January 6 vote by shareholders to approve the by-laws proved they wanted this process to continue under his successor.[53] He explained that it was a matter of efficiency: "The work of the Society peculiarly requires the direction of one mind," he wrote. "There are so many small details that if several persons had to direct them, more than the time would be used in consultation. This was clearly demonstrated by the Executive Committee, and it was found that it took three men two hours a day what one could do in a third of that time."[54] Bible Student Francis McGee, a lawyer and an assistant to the New Jersey Attorney-General, responded: "This is then the crux of the matter. He says he is that one mind."[55] By June four board members – Robert H. Hirsh, Alfred I. Ritchie, Isaac F. Hoskins and James D. Wright – had decided they had erred in endorsing Rutherford's powers of management.[56] They claimed Rutherford had become autocratic, refusing to open the Society's books for scrutiny and denying Johnson a fair hearing over his London actions.[57] They accused Rutherford of having engineered greater powers for himself by drawing up the by-laws which they claimed were in direct conflict with both Russell's will and the Society's charter that stipulated it be controlled by a seven-man board of directors.[58] Rutherford, who said he had "no ambition for earthly power or honor" and had never attempted to gain control of the Society,[59] countered that he had drawn up the by-laws only after being requested by the Executive Committee – Ritchie, Van Amburgh and himself.[60] Ritchie insisted he had known nothing of the proposed resolutions until shown them by Rutherford.[61]

At a Board meeting on June 20 Hirsh presented a resolution to rescind the new by-laws and reclaim the powers of management from the president,[62] but a vote was deferred for a month after strenuous objections by Rutherford.[63] A week later four of the directors requested an immediate board meeting to seek information on the Society finances. The President, who later claimed he by then had detected a conspiracy between Johnson and the four directors with the aim of seizing control of the Society as he believed Johnson had attempted in Britain,[64] refused the meeting and took a new direction to thwart their plan.

Rutherford gained a legal opinion from a Philadelphia corporation lawyer that a clause of the Watch Tower Society charter stipulating that its directors were elected for life was contrary to Pennsylvania law, and that all directors were required by law to be re-elected annually. The legal opinion stated that because the January 6 shareholders meeting had elected only three men to office – Rutherford, Secretary-Treasurer Van Amburgh and Vice-President Andrew N. Pierson – the remaining four board members, who had joined as early as 1904 and never faced re-election, had no legal status as directors of the Society. Even Hirsh, who had been appointed by the board on March 29, 1917 following the resignation of Henry C. Rockwell, was said to have no legal standing because his appointment had taken place in New York rather than Alleghany, as required by law. Rutherford claimed to have known these facts since 1909.[65]

On July 12 Rutherford travelled 750 km from Chicago to Pittsburgh and exercised his right under the Society's charter to fill what he claimed were four vacancies on the board, appointing A.H. Macmillan and Pennsylvania Bible Students W.E. Spill, J.A. Bohnet and George H. Fisher as directors.[66] Rutherford called a meeting of the new board on July 17, where the directors passed a resolution expressing "hearty approval" of the actions of their president and affirming him as "the man the Lord has chosen to carry on the work that yet remains to be done".[67] On July 31 he called a meeting of the People's Pulpit Association, a Watch Tower Society subsidiary incorporated in New York, to expel Hirsh and Hoskins as directors on the grounds that they were opposing the work of the Association. When the resolution failed to gain a majority, Rutherford exercised shareholder proxies provided for the annual meeting in New York the previous January to secure their expulsion.[68][69] On August 1 the Society published a 24-page journal, Harvest Siftings, subtitled "The evil one again attempts to disrupt the Society", in which Rutherford stated his version of the events and explained why he had appointed the new board members.

A month later the four ousted directors responded with a self-funded rebuttal of Rutherford's statement. The publication, Light After Darkness, contained a letter by Pierson, dated July 26, in which the Vice-President declared he was now siding with the old Board. Although he believed both sides of the conflict had displayed "a measure of wrongs", Pierson had decided Rutherford and been wrong to appoint new directors.[70] The ousted directors' publication also disputed the legality of their expulsion, stating that the clause in the Pennsylvania law prohibiting life memberships on boards had been only recently introduced and was not retroactive, exempting existing corporations from the statute.[71][72] As well, they claimed, the Society's Charter allowed only directors to be elected as officers. If, like the other four, neither Rutherford, Van Amburgh nor Pierson had legally been directors in January, then nor could they be elected as officers. Their advice from several lawyers, they said, was that Rutherford's course was "wholly unlawful".[73][74]

The ex-directors' publication claimed Rutherford had required all Bethel workers to sign a petition supporting him and condemning the former directors, with the threat of dismissal for any who refused to sign.[75] Some workers complained they had signed under duress and it was claimed as many as 35 members of the Bethel family were forced to leave for failing to support Rutherford during his "reign of terror".[2][76][77] Rutherford denied anyone had been forced out for refusing to sign an oath of allegiance.[78] Despite attempts by Pierson to reconcile the two groups,[78] the former directors left the Brooklyn Bethel on August 8.[79]

1918 election and aftermath

Bible Students continued to be assailed by publications from both sides through late 1917, with Rutherford on one side and Johnson and the four expelled directors on the other each accusing their opponents of gross misrepresentation and trying to usurp authority.[80][81][82] The controversy fractured the harmony of the Bible Student movement and many congregations split into opposing groups of those loyal either to Rutherford or those he had expelled.[79][83]

Rutherford's four opponents made one last attempt to unseat Rutherford, claiming that although he had the backing of the most powerful shareholders, he lacked the support of Bible Students at large. They therefore called for a democratic vote from all the Bible Students.[84] Rutherford wrote in October, "I did not seek election to the office of President, and I am not seeking re-election. The Lord is able to attend to his own business."[85] But in a move that outmanoeuvred his opponents, he organized a referendum of all Bible Students in December, a month before the annual Pittsburgh convention. Although they were not binding, votes were counted in more than 800 US congregations, giving him 95 per cent of the vote for President. His opposers ranked 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th on the list of prospective directors, with the highest support given to Rutherford's existing six co-directors.[84] On January 5, 1918, Rutherford was comfortably returned to office, receiving 194,106 shareholders' votes. Of the ex-directors, Hirsh received the highest number of votes, with his 23,198 putting him in 10th place. A resolution was promptly passed to request that Hirsh resign from the Editorial Committee.[86]

Rutherford admitted at the convention he was aware he had made many mistakes,[86] but by mid-1919 about one in seven Bible Students had chosen to leave rather than accept his leadership,[87] forming such groups as The Standfast Movement, Paul Johnson Movement, Dawn Bible Students Association, Pastoral Bible Institute of Brooklyn, Elijah Voice Movement and Eagle Society.[88]

The Finished Mystery

In late 1916 two prominent Bible Students at the Brooklyn headquarters, Clayton J. Woodworth and George H. Fisher, sought approval from the Executive Committee to produce a book on the prophecies of the books of Revelation and Ezekiel based primarily on Russell's writings.[89] Work on the book, The Finished Mystery, which was labeled as the posthumous seventh volume of Russell's Studies in the Scriptures, proceeded without the knowledge of the full Board of Directors and Editorial Committee[90] and was released by Rutherford to the Bethel family on July 17, 1917, the day he announced the appointment of four replacement directors.

Although denounced by Rutherford's opponents, the book was an immediate best-seller, was translated into six languages and serialised in The Watch Tower.[91] Rutherford expected theocratic rule to be established on earth in 1918 and the saints glorified,[91] writing in January 1918: "The Christian looks for the year to bring the full consummation of the church's hopes."[92] He embarked on a vast advertising campaign to expose the "unrighteousness" of religions and their alliances with "beastly" governments, expanding on claims in The Finished Mystery that patriotism was a delusion and murder.[93][94] The campaign attracted the attention of governments and on February 12, 1918 the book was banned by the Canadian government for what a Winnipeg newspaper described as "seditious and antiwar statements"[95] On February 24 in Los Angeles Rutherford gave the first of his talks on the subject, "The World Has Ended – Millions Now Living Will Never Die"[96] in which he attacked the clergy, declaring: "As a class, according to the Scriptures, the clergymen are the most reprehensible men on earth for the great war that is now afflicting mankind."[95] Three days later the Army Intelligence Bureau seized the Society's Los Angeles offices and confiscated literature.

In early May 1918 US Attorney General Thomas Watt Gregory condemned The Finished Mystery as "one of the most dangerous examples of ... propaganda ... a work written in extremely religious language and distributed in enormous numbers".[97] Days later warrants were issued for the arrest of Rutherford and seven other Watch Tower directors and officers on charges of sedition under the Espionage Act. On June 21 seven of them, including Rutherford, were sentenced to 20 years' jail. Rutherford feared his opponents would gain control of the Society in his absence, but on January 2, 1919 learned he had been re-elected President at the Pittsburgh convention the day before.[98] The victory convinced him that God wanted him as President.[99] In March 1919 the directors were released on bail after an appeals court ruled they had been wrongly convicted and in May 1920 the government announced all charges had been dropped.

Reorganization and the birth of the theocracy

Administrative changes

On his release from jail, Rutherford began a major reorganization of Bible Student activities. At a May, 1919 convention in Ohio he announced the publication of a new magazine, The Golden Age (today known as Awake!), in defiance of Russell's will that had decreed the Society publish no other periodicals[100] and within months organized Bible Students to distribute it door-to-door.[100] He expanded the Society's printing facilities, revived the colporteur work and in 1920 introduced the requirement for weekly reports of Bible Students' preaching activity.[101] He expanded and reorganized overseas branch offices[102] in what he regarded as a "cleansing" and "sifting" work.[103] And beginning with an eight-day assembly at Cedar Point, Ohio in 1922 he launched a series of major international conventions under the theme "Advertise the King and Kingdom", attracting crowds of up to 20,000,[104] who were urged to "herald the message far and wide". "Behold the King!" Rutherford told them. "You are his publicity agents."[105] He stressed that the prime purpose of all Bible Students was to preach publicly in fulfilment of Matthew 24:14, especially in the form of door-to-door evangelism with the Society's publications.[106]

He wrote his first book, The Harp of God, in 1921, eventually following it up with 19 more books, all of them bearing one-word titles such as Creation (1927), Jehovah (1934) and Children (1941). His publications reached a total of 36 million copies.[107] A 1920 booklet by Rutherford, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, a best-seller translated into 11 languages including Yiddish, and supported by a major speaking program and newspaper advertisements,[102] predicted the "full restoration of mankind" in 1925 accompanied by the resurrection of Jewish patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob[102] Rutherford later admitted he had "made an ass of himself" with the prediction, but continued to claim the end of the world was "near at hand".[102]

In 1925 he gained total control over what doctrines would be taught in Watch Tower publications, overruling the refusal by the five-man Editorial Committee to publish his doctrinally revolutionary article, "The Birth of a Nation".[108] Rutherford later claimed Satan had "tried to prevent the publication of that article ... but failed in that effort"[109] and the 1933 Watch Tower Yearbook observed that the subsequent demise of the Editorial Committee indicated "that the Lord himself is running his organization".[110] The committee was removed in 1931 and Rutherford wrote every leading article in The Watch Tower from then until his death.[111]

Rutherford expanded his means of spreading the Watch Tower message in 1924 with the start of 15-minute radio broadcasts, initially from WBBR, based on Staten Island, and eventually via a network of as many as 480 radio stations.[112] A 1931 talk was broadcast throughout North America, Australia and France, but the virulence of his attacks on the clergy was strong enough to result in both the NBC and BBC radio networks banning him from the airwaves.[113] Later still, in the late 1930s, he advocated the use of "sound cars" and portable phonographs over which talks by Rutherford were played to householders.[114]

At a 1931 Bible Student assembly in Columbus, Ohio Rutherford created a milestone in the history of the organization, proposing a new name, Jehovah's witnesses, to differentiate his followers from the proliferation of other groups that followed Russell's teachings.[115] Bible Students who opposed or abandoned Rutherford to form new groups were increasingly described as the "evil servant class" and his followers were told it was wrong to pray for those who were "unfaithful".[116][117]

The door-to-door preaching program was extended to include "back calls" on interested people and Witnesses were urged to start one-hour Bible studies in the homes of householders.[118][119] With the increased emphasis on preaching came a stronger push for centralized control of congregations. Service directors, who reported back to Brooklyn, were appointed in each congregation and a weekly "service meeting" introduced to meeting programs.[120] Rutherford impressed on elders the need to obey without complaint "regulations", "instructions" and "directions" from the Society.[121] When many congregations baulked at the new regulations, Rutherford from 1928 began a drive to abolish the system of elective congregation elders, dismissing them as "haughty" and "lazy" and asserting in 1932 that the office of elder was unscriptural.[122][123] In 1938 he introduced the term "theocracy" to describe the government of the religion, with Consolation explaining: "The Theocracy is at present administered by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, of which Judge Rutherford is the president and general manager."[124] "Zone servants" were appointed to supervise congregations and in a Watchtower article Rutherford declared the need for congregations to "get in line" with the changed structure.[125][126]

By 1942, the year of his death, worldwide attendance at the annual Memorial of Christ's death was 140,450 – more than six times the number attending when he succeeded Russell as Watch Tower president. However his restructuring of the Bible Student community during the 1920s and 1930s coincided with a dramatic loss of followers. Worldwide attendance of the annual Memorial of Christ's death fell from 90,434 in 1925[127] to 17,380 in 1928.[128] Memorial attendance figures did not surpass 90,000 again until 1940.[129] Author Tony Wills, who analysed attendance and "field worker" statistics, suggests it was the "more dedicated" Bible Students who quit through the 1920s, to be replaced by newcomers in larger numbers, although Rutherford dismissed the loss of the original Bible Students as the Lord "shaking out" the unfaithful.[130][131]

Doctrinal changes

From 1922 Rutherford began dismantling some of Russell's doctrines. At the 1922 Cedar Point convention he announced that scriptural evidence indicated Christ had begun his reign in 1914,[132], not 1878 as Russell had taught since 1881.[133] He expanded on his view in the 1925 Watchtower article "Birth of a Nation", which he later admitted "caused a real stir or shake-up within the ranks".[109] In 1927 he moved the date of the resurrection of the "sleeping saints" – until then said to have taken place in 1878 – to 1918.[134][135]

From 1925 he began drawing on the books of Exodus, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Psalms as well as the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles to develop the view of the Battle of Armageddon as a universal war waged by God rather than Russell's belief that it was an anarchistic human struggle for domination on earth.[136][137][138] A January 1, 1926 Watchtower article introduced a new emphasis on the importance of the name "Jehovah"[139] and from 1929 Rutherford presented the view that the vindication of God's name – which would ultimately occur when millions of unbelievers were destroyed at Armageddon – was the primary doctrine of Christianity and more important that God's display of goodness or grace towards humans.[140][141][142][143] In 1932 he published an interpretation of a passage in Ezekiel describing the attack on Jerusalem by Gog of Magog and predicted an intensification of persecution of the Witnesses that would culminate in God intervening on the Witnesses’ behalf to begin the battle of Armageddon, which would destroy all opposers of God’s organization.[144]

From 1926 he began discrediting Russell's teaching on the importance of Christian "character development" or personal "sanctification"[145][146][147] and a year later discarded the teaching that Russell had been the "faithful and wise servant" of Matthew 24:45-47, warning that the desire to revere men was a snare set by the Devil.[148][149]

In statements from 1928 he began distancing himself from Russell's teaching that the natural Jews would be restored to Palestine and also return to God's favor. Ten years earlier Rutherford had claimed prophecies of their restoration were already being fulfilled with the British takeover of the Palestine from the Turks during World War I.[150] At that time he expected 1925 would bring further major fulfilment.[151] From 1928, however, he began denying there was a role for Jews in God's Kingdom arrangement and by 1933 he had reversed Russell's earlier teaching, claiming that Jews, prominent in whose ranks were avaricious, "arrogant, self-important and extremely selfish" business leaders, would gain no favored standing with God.[152] The teaching that God would restore the Jews to the Palestine was dropped about the same time.[153]

Russell's teaching that the "great company" of Revelation 7:9 was a "secondary spiritual class", who would be resurrected to heaven apart from the 144,000 "elect", was rejected in 1935 when Rutherford, at a Washington, DC convention, argued that the "great multitude", the "sheep" of Matthew 25 and the "Jonadabs" of 2 Kings 10 all pictured the same group of people of good will, all of whom could survive Armageddon and receive everlasting life on earth by becoming Witnesses.[154][155]

Rutherford took issue in 1935 with US state laws requiring school students to salute the flag as a means of instilling patriotism and in the 1936 Yearbook declared that baptised Witnesses who did salute the flag were breaking their covenant with God and were thus "guilty of death".[156] Witness children in 43 states were expelled for refusing to salute the flag and the Watch Tower Society took most cases to court, with Rutherford personally leading the battle in the US Supreme Court in 1940. Controversy over the flag salute issue escalated and mob attacks on Witnesses became prevalent in many US states until the Supreme Court reversed itself in 1943,[157] but a US law magazine noted how Jehovah's witnesses had helped shape the course of constitutional law, remarking: "Through almost constant litigation this organisation had made possible an ever-increasing list of precedents concerning the application of the 14th amendment to freedom of speech and religion".[158]

Character and attitudes

Judge Rutherford Cadillac

Rutherford with Cadillac from the Watchtower publication The Messenger (1931)

Biographers describe Rutherford as tall and solidly built with a senatorial demeanor[159] and a strong booming voice[160] that helped make him a powerful orator. [161] Watch Tower literature acknowledges that his personality contrasted strongly with that of his predecessor. One Witness history book says that while Russell was kind, warm and tactful, Rutherford "was warm and generous toward his associates but he was also a brusque and direct type of person, and his legal background and experiences in early life gave him a directness in his approach to problems in dealing with his brothers that caused some to take offense".[162] Another Watch Tower account says he did not hide his feelings, adding, "His bluntness, even when spoken in kindness, was sometimes misunderstood."[163] Fellow Watch Tower Society director A.H. Macmillan says Rutherford "spoke as simply and directly to the people as he knew how, and he was an extremely forthright man. He was thoroughly convinced that what he had to say was the truth and that it was a matter of life and death."[164] He adds: "He would never tolerate anything that would be contrary to what he clearly understood the Bible to teach. He was so strict about that, he would permit nothing that would seem to show a compromise when it came to an issue of the truth."[165] Author Tony Wills describes him as charitable and generous and says his sympathy for the poor and oppressed was exceeded only by his hatred for the rich, the oppressors.[166] He also notes that he was a dynamic, impatient extrovert.[167] Other authors highlight Rutherford's abrasiveness: James Penton describes him as blunt and moody with an explosive temper[168] and "a streak of self-righteousness which caused him to regard anyone who opposed him as of the Devil",[169] while Alan Rogerson notes that he was a "dogmatic and insensitive person, obsessed with his own self-importance".[170]

Rutherford's confrontation with four Watch Tower Society directors who opposed him in 1917 highlighted both the forcefulness of his personality and his determination to fight for what he believed was right. Penton claims Rutherford played "hard-fisted church politics"[171] and Rogerson accuses Rutherford of using The Watchtower as a propaganda medium to attack his opposers in what was effectively a battle for his survival as president.[172] At the heart of his opponents' complaints was his "autocratic" behavior as he strived to "exercise complete management of the Society and its affairs".[173] Penton similarly describes his actions in his first year of presidency – including his appointment of new directors, refusal to allow the Society's accounts to be examined and unilateral decision to publish The Finished Mystery – as high-handed and secretive.[174] Yet to Rutherford the issue was simple: "...It was my duty to use the power the Lord had put into my hands to support the interests of the shareholders and all others interested in the Truth throughout the world ... to be unfaithful to them would be unfaithful to the Lord."[175] Macmillan, who fully backed Rutherford through the crisis, claimed the president was extremely patient and "did everything that he could to help his opposers see their mistake, holding a number of meetings with them, trying to reason with them and show them how contrary their course was to the Society's charter".[176]

According to Wills, Rutherford emerged from prison in 1919 bitter against the world and the collusion he saw between the clergy and military that had secured his imprisonment. Soon after his release he coined the term "Satan's organization" to refer to this supposed conspiracy.[177] In Watchtower articles Rutherford was similarly scathing towards big business, politics and the League of Nations.[178] Rogerson describes Rutherford's attitude towards the clergy – his avowed enemies – as "unadulterated hatred".[179] His attacks on clergymen, particularly Catholics, from the late 1920s were strong enough to attract a ban his broadcasts by the NBC radio network, which condemned his "rabid attack upon organized religion and the clergy".[180] He also heaped invective on those who had deserted his own ranks, applying the biblical description of "evil servant"[181] to those who had left and opposed his teachings. He urged followers to view with contempt such ones who had "openly rebelled against God's order or commandments"[182] and also described as "despicable" elective elders of the 1930s who refused to submit to Watch Tower Society administrative changes.[183]

Wills argues that Rutherford seemed to relish describing how completely the wicked would be destroyed at Armageddon, dwelling at greath length on prophecies of destruction. He claims that towards the close of his ministry Rutherford spent about half of each year's Watchtowers writing about Armageddon.[184]

According to Penton, Rutherford's austerity – evidenced by his distaste for Christmas, birthday parties and other popular customs [185] that were described as of pagan origin or that encouraged creature worship and hence not to be celebrated or practised[186] – led in turn to austerity becoming a part of Witness life. Congregational hymn singing was also halted in 1938[187][188][189] (and reinstated soon after Rutherford's death).[190]

Rutherford's books and magazine articles reveal his strong views on "the proper place of women" in the church and society. In a 1931 book he linked the post-1919 rise of women's movements that encouraged equality of the sexes to satanic influence[191] and claimed the custom of men tipping their hats to women or standing when a woman approached was a scheme of the devil to turn men from God and indicated an effeminate streak in men who practised the custom.[192] Mother's Day was similarly described as part of a plan to turn people away from God.[193] In 1938 he urged followers to delay marriage and child-bearing until after Armageddon,[194] which Wills claims prompted a strong community bias among Witnesses against marriage. Those who did marry, says Wills, were considered to be weak in faith.[195] At a 1941 convention in Missouri he quoted Rudyard Kipling's description of women as "a rag and a bone and a hank of hair".[196][197]

Former Jehovah's Witness Governing Body member Raymond Franz claims there is no evidence Rutherford ever engaged in the door-to-door ministry he said was a requirement and sacred duty of all Witnesses.[198] Headquarters staff claimed his responsibilities as president prevented his participation.[199]

Personal life

Beth Sarim Outside Stairs

Beth Sarim ("House of the Princes") was built in San Diego, California in 1930 for soon to be resurrected Old Testament "princes." Rutherford used it as a winter home.

Rutherford married Mary Fetzer, of Cooper County, Missouri, in 1890. Their only child, Malcolm, was born on November 10, 1892. The couple separated after he became president of the Watch Tower Society.[200]

In 1929, funds were privately donated to allow the construction of Beth Sarim, (House of the Princes), a residence at San Diego, California for the stated purpose of housing the prophets and "faithful men of old", who had been expected to be physically resurrected in 1925.[201] Rutherford, who is said to have lost the use of one lung after suffering pneumonia during his imprisonment, began spending his winters at the residence and later spent most of his time there.[202] Rutherford resided at the villa in his last years of ill health until his death in 1942. The villa was sold in 1948, with The Watchtower declaring, "It had fully served its purpose and was now only serving as a monument quite expensive to keep."[203]

The standard of Rutherford's accommodation and his private conduct attracted public criticism from within Witness ranks twice in the late 1930s. In a public letter to Rutherford in April 1937, former Watch Tower Society Canada branch manager Walter F. Salter claimed that, in contrast with the lifestyle of pioneers, Rutherford had a luxuriously furnished New York apartment, palatial residence and another abode on Staten Island, as well as Beth Sarim and "commodious and expensive quarters" in Magdeburg, Germany, as well as two 16-cylinder cars. Salter – who was disfellowshipped the same year[204] – made repeated claims in the letter that Rutherford was a heavy drinker.[205] In July 1939 Olin R. Moyle, legal counsel for the Society, wrote an open letter of resignation to the president to complain about behaviour of some members of the Bethel family, including Rutherford himself, that he considered excessive and inappropriate. Moyle cited Beth Sarim as one of the examples of "the difference between the accommodations furnished to you, and your personal attendants, compared with those furnished to some of your brethren."[206] (Among other things, Moyle also accused Rutherford of "unkind treatment of the staff, outbursts of anger, discrimination and vulgar language" and condemned him for his allowance of the "glorification of alcohol" at Bethel).[207][208] Penton cites unnamed former Brooklyn Bethel workers to support his claim that Rutherford was frequently inebriated.[209]


About age 70, Rutherford underwent several medical treatments for cancer of the colon.[210] These included multiple surgeries in 1941, but Rutherford never fully recovered. He died at Beth Sarim on January 8, 1942 at the age of 72. One of his last tasks was to help complete the 1942 Yearbook, in which he wrote that the year's achievements "would, on the face of it, show that the Theocratic witness work on earth is about done".[144][211] A US Bethel family member recalled the reaction to their president's death. "It was at noontime when the family was assembled for lunch," he said. "The announcement was brief. There were no speeches. No one took the day off to mourn. Rather, we went back to the factory and worked harder than ever."[212]

Rutherford's burial was delayed for three months due to legal proceedings arising from his desire to be buried at Beth Sarim, which was not a legally zoned cemetery.[213] Consolation explained that "Judge Rutherford looked for the early triumph of 'the King of the East', Christ Jesus, now leading the host of heaven, and he desired to be buried at dawn facing the rising sun, in an isolated part of the ground which would be administered by the princes, who should return from their graves."[214] His remains were buried at Rossville, Staten Island, New York.[4] Rutherford was succeeded by Nathan Homer Knorr as President of the Watch Tower Society.

Preceded by
Charles Taze Russell
President of Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society
January 6, 1917-January 8, 1942
Succeeded by
Nathan H. Knorr


  1. Penton 1997, pp. 50
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rogerson 1969, pp. 37
  3. "Postwar Enlargement of the Theocratic Organization", The Watchtower, July 15, 1950, page 217
  4. 4.0 4.1 Penton 1997, pp. 75
  5. Rogerson 1969, pp. 64
  6. "Testing and Sifting in Modern Times", The Watchtower, June 15, 1987, page 17
  7. Rogerson 1969, pp. 53
  8. Riches, by J.F. Rutherford, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1936, page 27.
  9. "Flashes of Light—Great and Small", The Watchtower, May 15, 1995, page 20.
  10. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 319
  11. Consolation, 27 May, 1942, page 6. It is not clear from this publication whether this included the distibution of Russell's earlier writings.
  12. "Part 1—United States of America", 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 94, "...earthwide report shows that the Memorial of Jesus Christ’s death on April 5, 1917, was attended by 21,274.
  13. Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pg 312-313: Memorial attendance figures in Rutherford's final years were 98,076 (1941) and 140,450 (1942)
  14. Prof. William J. Whalen, Armageddon Around the Corner: A report on Jehovah's Witnesses, John Day, New York, 1962, as cited by Penton, pg 75-76.
  15. Penton 1997, pp. 47.
  16. Rogerson 1969, pp. 34.
  17. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1975, pp. 81
  18. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 67
  19. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 67
  20. "Modern History of Jehovah’s Witnesses", Watchtower, March 15, 1955, pg 175.
  21. Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Visions of Glory - A History and Memory of Jehovah's Witnesses, Simon & Schuster, 1978, chapter 6.
  22. "Religion: Jehovah's Witness", Time magazine, June 10, 1935, Online, "Jehovah's Witnesses—otherwise known as the International Bible Students Association, followers of Judge Joseph Frederick Rutherford. Big, blue-eyed Judge Rutherford was born on a Missouri farm, practiced law, became a circuit judge"
  23. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 67
  24. Biographies of Rutherford in the March 15, 1955 Watchtower and 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses state that his appointment as Special Judge was in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit.
  25. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1975, pp. 81
  26. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1975, pp. 83
  27. Wills 2007, pp. 131
  28. The Watchtower (October 1, 1997, p. 6) cites a 1913 newspaper interview wherein Rutherford describes becoming an atheist after his Baptist minister claimed his wife Mary would go to Hell because she had not been baptized. Wills (p. 131) claims Rutherford had never doubted God's existence, but Wills does not cite a source for that claim.
  29. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 67
  30. Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Visions of Glory - A History and Memory of Jehovah's Witnesses, Simon & Schuster, 1978, chapter 6.
  31. "Modern History of Jehovah’s Witnesses", Watchtower, March 15, 1955, pg 175.
  32. "British Branch report", Watch Tower, January 15, 1915, page 26, Reprints 5616.
  33. Rogerson 1969, pp. 30
  34. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1975, pp. 55
  35. Rutherford--Troy Debate
  36. Yearbook, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1991, pg 73.
  37. "Judge Rutherford's Spicy Defense", Watch Tower, May 1, 1915, page 130. R5685.
  38. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 647
  39. Russell's Last Will and Testament, The Watch Tower, December 15, 1916.
  40. Penton 1997, pp. 48
  41. Macmillan 1957, pp. 68
  42. Macmillan 1957, pp. 70
  43. Macmillan 1957, pp. 71
  44. Wills 2007, pp. 115
  45. An essay at the Pastoral Bible Institute website claims Macmillan chaired the meeting; Rutherford in Harvest Siftings II (pg 26) refers to Ritchie as the chairman.
  46. Rutherford August 1917, pp. 10.
  47. Rutherford October 1917, pp. 28
  48. Rutherford October 1917, pp. 31
  49. Johnson 1917, pp. 2,3
  50. Rogerson 1969, pp. 35,36
  51. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 15
  52. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 5,6
  53. Rutherford October 1917, pp. 31
  54. Rutherford August 1917, pp. 10
  55. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 19
  56. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 4
  57. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 4
  58. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 4
  59. Rutherford October 1917, pp. 27
  60. Rutherford October 1917, pp. 26
  61. A.I. Ritchie et al, Facts for Shareholders, November 15, 1917, pg 11.
  62. Rutherford August 1917, pp. 12
  63. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 6
  64. Rutherford August 1917, pp. 22-23
  65. Rutherford August 1917, pp. 15
  66. Rutherford August 1917, pp. 14,15
  67. Rutherford August 1917, pp. 1, 17
  68. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 10
  69. Rutherford October 1917, pp. 27,28
  70. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 8,9
  71. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 7
  72. Wills & 2007 95
  73. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 7
  74. Legal opinion, Davies, Auerbach & Cornell, New York, July 23, 1917.
  75. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 9
  76. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 15
  77. Johnson 1917, pp. 17, 18
  78. 78.0 78.1 Rutherford October 1917, pp. 29
  79. 79.0 79.1 Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 68
  80. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 1
  81. Rutherford October 1917, pp. 1
  82. Johnson 1917, pp. 9
  83. Watch Tower publications since 1917 have vilified those who opposed Rutherford and make no attempt to convey their version of events. In its account of the events of 1917, the 1993 Proclaimers of God's Kingdom book refers to the opposing camps as "those loyal to the Society and those who were easy prey to the smooth talk of the opposers" (pg. 68). The 1975 Yearbook (pg. 87) dismisses the four ousted directors as "rebellious individuals who claimed to be board members" (pg. 92) and men who "ambitiously sought to gain administrative control of the Society". The 1959 history book Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose also incorrectly claims the legal advice given to the ousted directors confirmed that given to Rutherford. Their own journal, Light After Darkness, makes it plain their legal advice disagreed with Rutherford's.
  84. 84.0 84.1 Rogerson 1969, pp. 38
  85. Rutherford October 1917, pp. 32
  86. 86.0 86.1 Rogerson 1969, pp. 39
  87. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1975, pp. 93-94
  88. Rogerson 1969, pp. 39
  89. Wills 2007, pp. 97
  90. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 11
  91. 91.0 91.1 Rogerson 1969, pp. 40
  92. Watch Tower, October 1, 1917, January 1, 1918.
  93. Wills 2007, pp. 100
  94. Rogerson 1969, pp. 41
  95. 95.0 95.1 Macmillan 1957, pp. 85
  96. In the February 2010 issue of The Watchtower (page 16) the name of the talk was changed to Millions Now Living May Never Die. A reproduction of an invitation to the talk contained on the same page displayed the correct name of the series of talks.
  97. Macmillan 1957, pp. 89
  98. Macmillan 1957, pp. 106
  99. Macmillan 1957, pp. 105,106
  100. 100.0 100.1 Penton 1997, pp. 56
  101. Rogerson 1969, pp. 53,54
  102. 102.0 102.1 102.2 102.3 Penton 1997, pp. 57
  103. Rogerson 1969, pp. 52,53
  104. Rogerson 1969, pp. 54
  105. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1975, pp. 131
  106. Penton 1997, pp. 60
  107. Penton 1997, pp. 58
  108. Penton 1997, pp. 59
  109. 109.0 109.1 Watchtower, July 1, 1938, pg 201.
  110. Yearbook, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1933, pg. 11.
  111. Wills 2006, pp. 121
  112. Rogerson 1969, pp. 55
  113. Wills, pp. 149-151
  114. Rogerson 1969, pp. 57
  115. Rogerson 1969, pp. 55
  116. Wills 2006, pp. 167-172
  117. Watchtower, February 15, 1933.
  118. Rogerson 1969, pp. 57
  119. "Testing and Sifting in Modern Times", The Watchtower, June 15, 1987, page 18.
  120. Wills 2006, pp. 175
  121. Wills 2006, pp. 176
  122. Penton, pp. 64
  123. Wills 2006, pp. 177-179
  124. Consolation, 4 September, 1940, pg 25, as cited by Penton, pg. 61.
  125. Wills 2006, pp. 201
  126. Watchtower, June 15, 1938.
  127. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1959, pp. 110
  128. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1959, pp. 312-313
  129. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1959, pp. 312-313
  130. Wills 2007, pp. 142, 146, 157-159
  131. 1931 Yearbook, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, pg 57.
  132. Watchtower, December 15, 1922, pg 394.
  133. "How Long, O Lord?", Zion's Watch Tower, January 1881.
  134. Watch Tower, June 1, 1927.
  135. Light by J. F. Rutherford, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1930, page 226.
  136. Wills 2007, pp. 154,155
  137. Rogerson 1969, pp. 47
  138. "Can This World’s Armageddon Be Avoided?", Watchtower, December 1, 1966, pg 730.
  139. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 124
  140. Wills 2007, pp. 181, 182
  141. Penton 1997, pp. 69
  142. J.F. Rutherford, Prophecy, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1929, pg 319, 328-333
  143. J.F. Rutherford, Vindication, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1931, pg 9-14, 65-68, 135.
  144. 144.0 144.1 Wills 2007, pp. 223
  145. Penton 1997, pp. 60
  146. Wills 2007, pp. 143
  147. Watchtower, May 1, 1926.
  148. Penton 1997, pp. 60
  149. Watchtower, January 1, 1927, pg 7.
  150. Wills 2007, pp. 38
  151. Wills 2007, pp. 127, 128
  152. J.F. Rutherford, Favored People, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, as cited by Wills, 2007, pg 129.
  153. Rogerson 1969, pp. 46
  154. Penton 1997, pp. 72
  155. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1959, pp. 140
  156. Yearbook, 1936, pg 22, "The saluting of or salutation to a flag means this: 'I depend on what the flag represents for my salvation. Those who know and serve God in spirit and in truth look to Jehovah God for salvation, and not to any man or any man-made organization. It therefore follows that the saluting of any flag by those who are in covenant with Jehovah God to do his will constitutes the breaking of that covenant with God, and such covenant breakers are guilty of death."
  157. Wills 2007, pp. 214-224
  158. American Bar Association's Bill of Rights Review, Vol 2, No.4, Summer 1942, pg 262.
  159. Herbert H. Stroup, The Jehovah's Witnesses, Columbia University Press, 1945, pg 16.
  160. Penton 1997, pp. 47
  161. Wills 2007, pp. 131
  162. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1959, pp. 68, 69
  163. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1975, pp. 83
  164. Macmillan 1957, pp. 150,151
  165. Macmillan 1957, pp. 77
  166. Wills 2007, pp. 131
  167. Wills 2007, pp. 107
  168. P.S.L. Johnson's Harvest Siftings Reviewed (1917, p.17) relates an incident in which an enraged Rutherford rushed at him in a confrontation in Brooklyn Bethel, grabbed at his arm and "almost jerked me off my feet". Johnson complains that in an earlier hearing of complaints against him, Rutherford treated him to "sneers, sarcasm and ridicule. His face expressed more contempt than that of any other face upon which I have ever looked."(p.14)
  169. Penton 1997, pp. 47-48
  170. Rogerson 1969, pp. 35
  171. Penton 1997, pp. 51
  172. Rogerson 1969, pp. 37
  173. Pierson et al 1917, pp. 3,4
  174. Penton 1997, pp. 51, 53
  175. Rutherford August 1917, pp. 17
  176. Macmillan 1957, pp. 77
  177. Wills 2007, pp. 132
  178. Wills 2007, pp. 131-138
  179. Rogerson 1969, pp. 44
  180. Yearbook, 1930, pg. 38
  181. The term was drawn from the account of the "faithful servant" and "evil servant" of Matthew 24:45-51.
  182. Watchtower, February 15, 1933, pg 55.
  183. Watchtower, March 15, 1938, pg.87
  184. Wills 2007, pp. 154
  185. J.F.Rutherford, Vindication, Vol I, pgs 188, 189, as cited by Wills, pg 139.
  186. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1975, pp. 147
  187. Penton 1997, pp. 66
  188. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1959, pp. 215
  189. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 241, "singing in local congregations was largely dispensed with in about 1938"
  190. "Music’s Place in Modern Worship", The Watchtower, February 1, 1997, pages 26-27, "In 1938 singing at congregation meetings was largely dispensed with. However, the wisdom of following apostolic example and direction soon prevailed. At the 1944 district convention, F. W. Franz...announced the release of the Kingdom Service Song Book for use at the weekly service meetings."
  191. J.F.Rutherford, Vindication, Vol I, pgs 155-159, as cited by Wills, pg 139.
  192. Penton 1997, pp. 66
  193. J.F.Rutherford, Vindication, Vol I, pgs 155-157, as cited by Wills, pg 139.
  194. Watchtower, November 15, 1938, pg 346.
  195. Wills 2007, pp. 138
  196. Penton 1997, pp. 66
  197. Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Visions of Glory - A History and Memory of Jehovah's Witnesses, Simon & Schuster, 1978, chapter 3.
  198. See also [1] for the public letter to Rutherford by former Watch Tower Society Canada branch manager Walter Salter in which he refers twice to Witnesses going door to door, in contrast to the President's actions.
  199. Raymond Franz, In Search of Christian Freedom, Commentary Press, 2007, pg 191-192.
  200. Penton 1997, pp. 72
  201. J.F. Rutherford, Salvation, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1939, pg 311.
  202. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1975, pp. 194
  203. Watchtower, December 15, 1947, as cited by Proclaimers, 1993, pg. 76.
  204. Yearbook, 1979, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, pg 134.
  205. Letter to J.F. Rutherford by Walter Salter, April 1, 1937.
  206. Tony Wills (2007). A People For His Name: A History of Jehovah's Witnesses and an Evaluation. pp. 202–204.,M1. 
  207. Moyle letter to Rutherford, July 21, 1939.
  208. Society directors defended Rutherford in an October 1939 Watchtower article, accusing Moyle of lies and "wicked slander" and claimed he was a "Judas" trying to cause division. Moyle successfully sued the board of directors for libel, collecting $15,000 plus court costs. See Penton, pg 80-83 and Wills, pg 202-205.
  209. Penton 1997, pp. 72,73
  210. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 89
  211. Yearbook, 1942, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, pg 29.
  212. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society 1993, pp. 89
  213. Penton 1997, pp. 74
  214. Consolation, May 27, 1942.


External links

id:Joseph Franklin Rutherfordhu:Joseph Franklin Rutherfordno:Joseph Franklin Rutherfordpt:Joseph Franklin Rutherford ro:Joseph Franklin Rutherford ru:Рутерфорд, Джозеф Франклин fi:Joseph Franklin Rutherford zh:约瑟夫·富兰克林·卢瑟福