Why Judge Rutherford went to prison

April 6th, 2011

By “Alfred”

It’s been over 93 years ago, so we’ll probably never know all the facts, but the Watchtower Society continues to claim that its president, Joseph F. Rutherford, and other officers of the corporation were falsely accused and sent to prison on charges of “sedition”. However, a May 9, 1918 New York Times article that covered these arrests and sedition charges states that the accused were charged with “spreading doctrines calculated to promote unrest and disloyalty among the men of the army and navy.” The article concluded that the indictment was based largely upon printed matter published in the Watch Tower magazine, Kingdom News, and the book The Finished Mystery.

I looked up “sedition” on Wikipedia and found this definition (in part):

“In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interests of sedition…”

It might interest current and ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses to know that Rutherford ordered the Bible Students to rip out pages 247 through 253 in all copies of The Finished Mystery in his last ditch attempt to avoid jail time. Surprisingly, the Proclaimers book (p. 652) partially admits that this happened (that the pages were removed), but does not explain that it this was done so that Rutherford could avoid jail time.

On March 5, 2011, I posted on Jehovahs-Witness.net some bullet points based on my recent reading of the book The Finished Mystery. (See previous article on Ex-JW.com.) What I forgot to mention at the end of my post were the notes I took from while reading pages 247 through 253, the “seditious pages” that Rutherford later ordered ripped out.

Below are my notes about those pages. I’ll let you decide whether the charges of “sedition” were false – or not…

  1. People who display patriotism are delusional murderers acting in the very spirit of the devil. Patriotism is narrow-minded hatred of other people.
  2. Prince Bulow, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannermann, Mr. H. H. Asquith, Mr. John Jay and Mr. Elihu Root were peace-loving statesmen under a sky filled with clouds of war.
  3. While 10,000 children in Tokyo were singing loving greetings to our naval officers, the US was gearing up for a war with the Japanese.
  4. The naval experts of Russia are planning a billion-dollar navy even though millions of its people are on the verge of starvation.
  5. The first expenditure of the United States government in the world war (WWI) was $7 Billion, which is 27% in excess of the value of all the crops harvested in the US.
  6. The Germans denounce war, with the exception of the present conflict with England. England condemns war, but excludes from their indictment the present fight against the central empires.
  7. This war (WWI) is the natural product of our unchristian civilization. Its soldiers are grown from greed, imperialistic ambition, and dynastic pride. Our participation in this war is unethical.

I don’t know about you, but I believe that this is as seditious as it can possibly get. On the other hand, as absurd as these pages in The Finished Mystery were, I seriously doubt that any of these pages had any effect on the war (ripped out or not). But the fact that Rutherford didn’t stand firmly behind these statements found in The Finished Mystery – and then ordered them removed in a cowardly attempt to avoid prison – says a lot about his character.


Editor’s Notes: This is the second in a series about the infamous Watchtower Society book, The Finished Mystery. Originally posts on Jehovahs-Witness.net by “Alfred,” these articles point out that the events that Jehovah’s Witnesses point to as evidence that the Watchtower Society was specially chosen in 1919 by Jesus as his one true religion, his “faithful and discreet slave.” The Editor and “Alfred” both plead with lovers of the truth to look at the evidence and decide for themselves if there is anything at all that supports the claims that the Watchtower is something special among Christian religions. [Here is the link to Alfred’s original post and comments.]

Categories: Documents & History, Watchtower Leaders

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  1. Terry

    An extremely useful article for anyone testing the JW doctrine about the two wittnesses, the evidence simply underlines the literaly inaccurate claims of the WT society

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