"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
========================================================== Light After Darkness
September 1, 1917
A Message to the Watchers, Being a refutation of "Harvest Siftings"
OUR PASTOR =========================================================
"Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My nameís sake, said, ĎLet the Lord be glorifiedí; but He shall appear to your joy and they shall be ashamed."
Our Present Counselor †
WE ARE LIVING in a time when, if it were possible, "the very elect" would be deceived, but Godís Word, our safe guide, assures us that this cannot be done, even though the Adversary should use some of his ablest instruments for that purpose. Jesusí safety was found in what was written, and that constitutes our security also. We are not ignorant of the devices of our Adversary.
In New Testament days he used letters and words and spirits purporting to come from the right source and through the Lordís channel in order to deceive the early Christians, but this was unavailing. He even caused some of his ablest ministers to write letters that were so nearly like the writings found in the Holy Scriptures that some could not tell them apart, and consequently accepted them as inspired writings. This gave rise to the Apocryphal books, which may be found in the Catholic Bibles between the Old and New Testaments.
This should cause the Lordís people to be especially on guard at this time, when we are so near the end of the way, entering into Gethsemane, previous to the binding of Satan.
One of these pseudo-writings may be found in a document recently published and mailed to the friends all over the world, entitled "Harvest Siftings," which is an imitation and counterfeit of our dear Brother Russellís Harvest Siftings, but a careful examination of the two writings bearing the same title will reveal the fact that they are entirely different. Brother Russellís Siftings was a real thing; the latter is a deception. Brother Russellís production was for the purpose of giving a plain, simple, straightforward, loving, Christian-like explanation of certain false charges which had been made by certain ones who had conspired against him. This latter document is altogether different. It is written for the purpose of condemning Brother Russellís fellow-servants, and is the work of a Prosecuting Attorney rather than that of a Christian. In the one instance the Adversary attempted to disrupt the work of the Society by a conspiracy of brethren who were sifted out; in this instance he has proven a little more successful through the processes of usurpation, casting out faithful brethren, and then saying, "The Lord be glorified."
This pseudo-"Siftings" is nothing but a legal document to prove what a wonderful President the Society has-a supposedly real hero who has saved the Society from being wrecked, whereas in reality it is a covered effort to overcome Brother Russell, as represented in his fellow-servants, to the extent of splitting the Church, and the usage of the Lordís money contributed by His consecrated people. Brother Rutherford is using the Lordís money in this way. He is using the Lordís people, and he is using consecrated time and talents in the same direction.
If you will carefully scrutinize his so-called "Siftings," you will readily observe that it has every ear-mark of the Lawyer, the Counselor, the Prosecuting Attorney. It is a lawyerís business to accept his clientís case for money considerations, and to do everything in his power to prove his case. Lawyers argue on only one side of a case, and that is always their side-the selfish one. It is not a matter of strict justice (as it ought to be), but a matter of winning the case by arguments. To accomplish this purpose, such arguments only will be used that tend to establish their point. All other points will be suppressed, ignored, and omitted, and, at the same time, they will do everything they can to overcome the arguments on the other side, no matter how true they may be. Besides this, statements of witnesses are ofttimes colored to suit their case, and misrepresentations are frequently indulged in. In these, and in other ways, they either win the case, or come so near to it that their client seems satisfied, unless an appeal case can be worked up. You will find all these things used in this so-called "Siftings" to prove a point and to show what a wonderful champion the Society (Rutherford-Van Amburgh) has found in Our President.
He has set himself up as the Counselor of the Church, and this is the kind of counsel he is giving them. It might be well to notice in this connection that this word Counselor is one of the titles of the Lord Jesus, and is one of the principal works of the Advocate, and was never previously recognized as an office in the Church.
We are confident that the friends do not wish the money they have contributed for the spread of the Truth to be used to propagate falsehoods and to push the Primacy so as to split the Church. Neither do they wish the name, memory, contributions, sacrifices and prestige of our dear Brother Russell to be used in this manner. Therefore, we are inviting your careful and prayerful consideration of the facts stated in the writings herewith sent forth to the Lordís people in His name, which, we believe, will be one of the means the Lord will use at this time to shield and protect His people-His sheep-from those that would otherwise devour and destroy.
"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Our Lord."- 2Pe 1:2.
"LET THERE BE LIGHT!" †
"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord."- Isa 53:17.
A. N. Pierson J. F. Rutherford} I. F. Hoskins}vs. R. H. Hirsh W. E. Van Amburgh} J. D. Wright A. I. Ritchie ITTLE did we think when we looked upon the dead body of our great leader, Pastor Russell, less than nine months ago, that in so short a time it would become our painful duty to sound an alarm to the Lordís people everywhere, in the statement we are now about to make. Little did we then think that those who would undertake to manage the affairs of the Society after Brother Russellís death would attempt to pervert and change the time-honored customs and usages left us by our dear Pastor, or that there would be introduced such flagrant and sweeping departures from the form of government as outlined in Brother Russellís Will and in the Charter of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, written by his own hand.
For months past we have been hoping to avert the present issue, and now it is necessary that we relate to you the history of the unhappy circumstances which have led up to the present trouble. Even now, we would hesitate to speak of these things were it not for the fact that certain brethren, whose names we must herein mention, have sent out broadcast lengthy statements which have distorted the facts and which are calculated to mislead the Lordís people with regard to the true situation at headquarters.
Accordingly, we have received hundreds of letters requesting a true and complete explanation of the affairs and happenings here.
Failure to correct the misleading statements and tell you the truth would surely mean a culpable neglect on our part to fulfil our solemn and sacred duty to protect and safeguard the interests of the Lordís flock.
The Watch Tower readers have received a paper styled "Harvest Siftings." It bears the signature of the President of our Society, J. F. Rutherford. Several facts are apparent at once to the minds of all who have read this paper carefully, namely: (1) That the author has attempted to assassinate the good reputation of some of his brethren, Directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, who for many years under Brother Russell occupied positions of trust in the work of the Society.
(2) That the Author of "Harvest Siftings," while knowing that St. Paul enjoins, "speak evil of no man," has seemingly lifted all restraint from his tongue and pen and throughout his paper has carried on a campaign of slander and evil speaking.
(3) That while on page one of his "Siftings," Brother Rutherford declares that God is his Judge, he seems unwilling that God shall judge his brethren, but proceeds himself to be their judge and to unmercifully condemn them.
(4) That while on the first page of "Siftings," our brother says he has no unkind feelings toward anyone, he proceeds to express, time after time, unkind sentiments toward these brethren.
(5) While in the concluding paragraphs of his paper, he exhorts that no bitterness be allowed to come in, he has repeatedly said many things therein to arouse bitter thoughts in the minds of the Lordís people.
(6) That throughout his statement our brother has attempted to link with Brother Johnsonís affairs in England the proceedings of the majority members of the Board of Directors, and that without there being any relationship whatsoever and in face of repeated protests on our part.
(7) That on the first page of "Harvest Siftings," top of second column, the author exhorts "that you do not form any distinct opinion until you have read all this statement"; the inference being that you should immediately form a distinct opinion after reading his statement.
We have too much confidence in you, dear brethren, to think that after following the leading of the Lord under Brother Russell, many of you for years past, you could at this late hour be so misled as not to be able to discern between this and the spirit of the wise man of old: "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him."-Proverbs 18:13. See Vol.VI, pages 293, 294.
We would not publish this article merely in defense of our name. We have nothing that is not fully devoted to the Lord and the Truth; we suffer because of our faithful effort to serve these and you, and realizing this, we are not distressed. "We know whom we have believed and are persuaded that He is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him against that day."
THE PURPOSE OF THIS PUBLICATION †
The purpose of this explanation is not to retaliate, either, for, by the Lordís Grace, we trust to follow the example of Jesus, "who when He was reviled, reviled not again." Therefore, we will leave out personalities and bitter words in the presentation.
We believe that it will not be speaking evil to confine ourselves to some of the official acts of the President of the Society, for every voting shareholder has a right to information of this character. Our only purpose, dear brethren, is to set matters before you in such a manner that you may see the facts and principles involved and be prepared to recognize the Lordís leading and guidance through this fiery trial, to the intent that you may endure the same, without any real injury.
Herewith we set forth the salient points that you may be assisted in following the events up to the present sad crisis: (1) That during the lifetime of Brother Russell, he exercised complete control and management of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and all of its affairs, for the reason that he created the Society with his own money and intellect under the special guidance of the Lordís spirit, which he possessed in large measure.
(2) That as he looked forward to his death, it was not his thought that he would have a successor in this special office, but rather that the Board of seven Directors should "come to the front" and be his successor, and exercise complete management of the Society and its affairs.
(3) That the Charter of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, written by Brother Russell, stated in plain terms the form of government by which the Society was to be governed. This, he declared, was intended to apply especially after his death.
(4) That at his death, Brother Russell left a will (see "Watch Tower," December 1, 1916), in which he explains why be had control of the Society during his lifetime and the manner in which he desired the affairs to be continued after his death.
(5) That Brother Russell had not been dead more than a few days when his Will was declared to be illegal and, therefore, not binding, and that its provisions need not be observed by those who took charge, thus beginning the real murmuring against Brother Russellís arrangements, which has continued ever since.
(6) That Brother Rutherford, being well assured in advance that he would be elected President of the Society, drew up some by-laws before his election, which were taken to the shareholdersí meeting at Pittsburgh, January 6, and placed in the hands of a committee of three brethren, with the instruction that they suggest before the shareholdersí meeting that these by-laws be adopted by the Society for the government of its affairs.
(7) That these by-laws, prepared by Brother Rutherford, expressly stated that the President should be the executive and manager of the Society and that he should have full charge of all its affairs, both in foreign lands and in America.
(8) That the passage of these by-laws, under Brother Rutherfordís instructions, by the shareholders was contrary to the Charter of the Society, and, hence, not binding, since the Charter provides that "the Directors shall have full power to make by-laws." (See charter, Sec. VII, elsewhere in this pamphlet.) (9) That Brother Rutherford, knowing that these by-laws, recommended by the shareholders, were not legal on returning from the election called a meeting of the Board of Directors, at which there were present Brothers Rutherford, Van Amburgh, Pierson, Ritchie and Wright. Brother Hoskins, being ill, was absent, and Brother Rockwell had just removed from Bethel. At this meeting of the Board, these by-laws, placing the control in the hands of Brother Rutherford, were adopted thus making them legal.
(10) That the Brethren present at this Board meeting who took part in the adoption of these by-laws, not being able to forecast the future, and not surmising that our brother would misuse the power, thought best at that time to take this action.
(11) That not many weeks had passed before there were misgivings in the minds of several of the Directors as to the wisdom of the action taken, and though they expressed no immediate protest, they recognized that they had placed altogether too much confidence in Brother Rutherford in giving him such sweeping control, for they saw that he was interpreting the by-laws to mean that he alone was the controller of the Society to the exclusion of the Directors.
(12) That one of the seriously objectionable results of this power in the hands of the President was that he appointed a special representative, Brother A. H. Macmillan, who for two months previous to this time, since Brother Russellís death, had shown himself unfit to represent the Society and its affairs in such an important position, and that to this special representative was delegated autocratic powers by the President, so that in the absence of the President, the word of his special representative was declared to be final on all matters, much to the sorrow and discomfort of many of the force.
(13) That instead of properly representing the Society and assisting the President in preserving inviolate its charter and Brother Russellís will, Brother Macmillan did the very reverse. He apparently viewed Brother Russellís Will as a mere trifle, not worthy of consideration, and time after time as he visited various parts of the country, he held up the Board of Directors to contempt and ridicule.
(14) That instead of the President exercising restraint over his special representative, he apparently sanctioned his unseemly conduct, as indicated in his statement in "Harvest Siftings," page 11, where he says Brother Macmillan "has proven faithful and loyal."
(15) That after three months or so had passed, it became clearly evident to the majority of the Directors that they had seriously blundered in placing the complete control in the hands of one man, contrary to the charter (article VI of which reads: "The corporation shall be managed by a Board of Directors, consisting of seven members"), and that under this one-man rule the Directors were not allowed to direct, and could get little or no information regarding the affairs of the Society, for which the laws of the land held them responsible.
(16) That Brother Van Amburgh is the only Director who has fully supported the President in his methods and policies; whereas prior to Brother Russellís death, Brother Van Amburgh frequently opposed Brother Russell in the business that he brought before the Board for consideration, thus taking hours of Brother Russellís valuable time; and that since Brother Russellís death, Brother Van Amburgh has given his undivided support to Brother Rutherford, and is permitted to exercise more authority than ever before; and has repeatedly refused members of the Board the privilege of getting information from the Societyís records.
(17) That prior to the time of Brother Johnsonís return from England, in the early part of April, things had not been running smoothly and to the satisfaction of the Board of Directors, and that Brother Johnsonís return had nothing whatever to do with the real issues.
(18) That when Brother Johnson returned to America he appealed to the Board of Directors for a hearing of the difficulties in England. Two hearings were allowed by the President, neither of which was an official Board meeting, and in neither of these was Brother Johnson given more than slight opportunity to state his case..4b (19) That when Brother Johnson requested time and again that the President call a meeting of the Board to give him a fair opportunity to state his case, the President became angered and told Brother Johnson and the Board it was none of their business, that the management was all in his hands, and that he had closed up the matter of Brother Johnsonís affair and would not open it again.
(20) That when the members of the Board saw this attitude on the part of the President, which was but another exhibition of the same autocratic powers which he had many times exercised since his election, they concluded it wise to take counsel together and earnestly prayed over the matter, the result of which was that at the next Board meeting, one of our number offered a resolution to amend the by-laws which the Board had unwisely adopted early in the year.
(21) That the purpose of the Directors in wishing to amend the by-laws was not that the four members of the Board might take over the control of the Society, but that the Board might be restored to its proper position, according to Brother Russellís will and charter.
(22) That when this resolution was offered to rescind the objectionable by-laws, the President was greatly angered and offered such strenuous opposition that the Board yielded to his suggestion to hold the matter over for about a month.
(23) That meantime the President took a trip West and completed the scheme by which he has attempted to declare illegal and put off the Board four of its properly constituted members, three of whom for many years past were recognized by Brother Russell as legally chosen Directors.
(24) That the Presidentís declaration that these members of the Board have had no legal standing as Directors for years past, would mean, if true, that Brother Russell has been transacting "illegal business" through an "illegal Board" for many years.
(25) Be it known, therefore, that Brother Rutherford in his "Siftings" has beclouded the real issues by claiming that the Directors have espoused the cause of Brother Johnson and want to send him back to England, when we had no desire or intention of doing anything of the kind; and be it further known that Brother Johnson is in no sense the cause of our differences here at the headquarters.
(26) Be it known further that we had no thought whatsoever of interrupting the affairs of the Society by tying up its funds, as Brother Rutherford charges us, but merely to make them subject to the Boardís direction; and that no thought could be farther from our mind than that of wrecking the Society. God knows our hearts and our intentions. Instead, we have been for many years engaged with all our heart and strength in supporting the Lordís work and in extending the influence of our Society and the Truth, which we all love so much. Our aim from first to last in this respect has been to fulfill the duties of our office, to which three of us were appointed under Brother Russell, and to faithfully fulfill the trust reposed in us; and to estop, if possible, a gross and wholesale departure from Brother Russellís Will, his Charter, and the policies outlined by him to be followed after his death, to all of which the Directors solemnly bound themselves.
We do not cease to rejoice in the Lord and to give thanks for all the fresh evidences of our acceptance with Him which we have enjoyed during our recent trials. Our privileges are, it is true, somewhat curtailed; but be assured that we stand always ready to serve any of you.
"TRUTH CRUSHED TO EARTH SHALL RISE AGAIN" †
WITH ALL of the mighty power of the Society at his back-the consecrated financial power and the moral power- the President of our Society has done his best to crush to the earth four brethren whose loyalty to the Lord, the Truth and the brethren no one ever before questioned. All of them have been in the service of the Truth for many years, and to none of them was the finger of scorn ever before pointed. They worked faithfully with their beloved Pastor until his death, and took up their duties with the new President with renewed determination to support him as loyally as they had supported Brother Russell. This they continued to do until they saw that the Charter, Will, and all would be so completely subverted that there might be little left if they did not at once make protest.
It is probably sufficient to say that Brother Rutherfordís "Siftings" contains more than a hundred untruthful charges and misleading statements, all made, too, on Watch Tower paper, printed at considerable expense, and sent out from the Tabernacle, the home of the Truth.
BROTHER RUSSELLíS WISHES †
The real issue, dear friends, is: Are we to remain faithful to Brother Russellís memory, his methods and his plans for the work?
In view of the fact that Brother Russell concluded to turn over to the Society all the Lordís goods, as a "faithful and wise steward," he first had an understanding with the Board of Directors, reference to which is made in his will, as follows: "In view of the fact that in donating the journal ĎZionís Watch Tower,í the ĎOld Theology Quarterlyí (now the ĎBible Studentís Monthly), and the copyrights of the ĎMillennial Dawn Scripture Studies,í Books and various other booklets, hymn-books, etc., to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, I did so with the explicit understanding that I should have full control of all the interests of these publications during my life, and that after my decease they should be conducted according to my wishes. I now herewith set forth the said wishes- my will respecting the same."
The first part of this agreement was carried out during Brother Russellís life time. And now, dear brethren, we come to the second part of it, as expressed in his Will, published in The Tower December 1, 1916. We do well to read it frequently to keep its various provisions fresh in mind. Another section reads: "My object in these requirements is to safeguard the committee and the journal from any spirit of ambition or pride or headship, and that the, Truth may be recognized and appreciated for its own worth, and that the Lord may more particularly be recognized as the Head of the Church and the Fountain of Truth."
In these two quotations from the Will, it is evident that Brother Russell expected no successor in his peculiar office as "that wise and faithful servant" (Matthew 24:45-47). And as he wished to safeguard The Watch Tower so that there should be no opportunity for ambition, pride or headship, so it is equally true that Brother Russell never intended that anyone should succeed him in the full control of the Societyís interests throughout the wide world, and doubtless for the same reason that he wished to keep down headship. This thought is evidenced in many ways, and by his printed statement to this effect: "In the event of my death, the Board of Directors will come forward!" Also a quotation from the Charter, Section VI: "The Corporation is to be managed by a Board of Directors consisting of seven members."
Thus it will be seen that after Brother Russellís death the Board of Directors became his successors in the control of the Societyís affairs, as the Editorial Committee of five became his successors as Editors of The Watch Tower.
ADVERSARY BUSY RAISING DUST CLOUDS †
Some of the dear friends seem unable to grasp these truths. On the other hand some appear to grasp them as readily as they did "The Divine Plan." We wonder if the Adversary has been busy raising dust-clouds to obscure these important truths, and to cover them up with false accusations of ambition against the majority members of the Board of Directors. Time after time in Brother Rutherfordís "Siftings" we have been accused of seeking honor, position, etc.; yet it should be evident to all that only Brother Rutherfordís surmises are offered in support of these charges. Thus our earnest endeavors to do our duty and to stand in defense of our Society, and for the protection of its sacred interests, have been so misrepresented as to appear to be evil. Verily again our Adversary is putting "darkness for light and light for darkness."-Isa 5:20.
We humbly believe, dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, that not one of us has any ambition, save to be faithful to the trust reposed in us by the Lord and by our beloved Pastor. We recall in this connection the words of our Lord and of the Apostle Paul, as follows: "It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful; every man according to his several ability."- 1Co 4:2; Mt 25:15."
We freely confess that none of us has any great ability; but it is our desire to use to His praise whatever little we have; and as stewards of the Society, we have sought only to be faithful.
BROTHER RUTHERFORDíS METHODS VS. BROTHER RUSSELLíS METHODS †
The trouble really had its beginning before the election in Pittsburgh last January. Realizing that he would be elected President of the Society, and knowing that the Charter places the control of the Societyís interests in the hands of the Board of Directors, Brother Rutherford, before he started for the election at Pittsburgh, prepared some by-laws to be placed before the shareholdersí meeting. In this connection it would be well to quote a part of the Charter of the Society respecting the only body authorized to make by-laws. Section VII reads: "The Corporation, by its Board of Directors [not the voting shareholders], a majority of whom shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, shall have full power and authority to make and enact by-laws, rules and ordinances, which shall be deemed and taken to be the law of said corporation, and do any and everything useful for the good government and support of the affairs of said corporation."
Notwithstanding this provision in the Charter that the Board of Directors shall make the by-laws, at Brother Rutherfordís instance a committee on by-laws was appointed at the Convention in Pittsburgh. To this Committee Brother Rutherfordís by-laws were presented, and after deliberating upon them most of the afternoon, the Committee proceeded toward the platform to read them to the Convention. It was the hour set to reconvene the assemblage; but, thinking that the Committee had probably made changes during their long deliberations (against his plan to gain the control), Brother Rutherford held them up for an hour behind the platform while he endeavored to force them to change the by-laws back exactly as he had prepared them, threatening a fight before the Convention if this were not done. Little did the conventioners know of what was going on behind the curtain, and little did they realize why the Convention was delayed so long. There were several eye-witnesses of this controversy, besides the Committee, which was composed of Brother Margeson, of Boston, Chairman; Brother Bricker, of Pittsburgh, and Brother Ostrander, of Cleveland.
BROTHER RUTHERFORDíS BY-LAWS PASSED †
The Committee held out courageously against Brother Rutherford, but fearing the threatened fight and consequent disturbance in the Convention if Brother Rutherford did not have his own way, they finally reported the by-laws as originally prepared by him.
We rehearse these facts to show how the Brother managed to take the power from the Board of Directors, and to have it in his own hand. One of the by-laws, which was suggested at the shareholdersí meeting, reads: "The President of the Society shall always be the Executive Officer and General Manager of the Corporation, having in charge the management of its affairs and work, both in America and in foreign countries."
Another by-law, the one to which the Committee specially objected, authorized the President to appoint an Advisory Committee of three, of which the Secretary and Treasurer, Brother Van Amburgh, was to be a permanent member. These by-laws and such a Committee would naturally be thought by some to supplant the Directors in their advisory and executive capacity.
The President knowing that the shareholders could not legally make by-laws, since the Charter gives that right to the Directors, on returning to Brooklyn after the election, called a meeting of the Board at which he presented his by-laws for their adoption.
Like the dear sheep who were in attendance at the shareholdersí meeting, unsuspicious and anxious to do anything to aid the new President, the Directors decided without protest to spread them upon the minutes of their meeting. It was this action that made the by-laws genuine and legal, an act which the Board hoped at the time would prove to be for the best interests of the work.
Thus it will be seen at a glance how Brother Rutherford planned to thwart Brother Russellís expressed wishes in this respect and also the Charter, which places the control of the Societyís interests in the hands of seven brethren instead of one.
The Board has been accused of being ambitious. Suppose it has been ambitious in the matter of carrying out the provisions of Brother Russellís Charter and Brother Russellís will, what shall be said of Brother Rutherfordís efforts to take away the Directorsí control and usurp that control fully to himself? It seems an easy matter to raise dust to obscure the real issue, and this is what the Adversary apparently has been busy doing. We would not stop to mention these matters if they were personal. We could easily sacrifice all our personal rights and count them but loss and dross; but in a case like this it is different. The rights of Directors are not personal. The Directors represent the rights of the shareholders of the Society, and they cannot set aside a stewardship of this kind and at the same time be faithful. "It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful." Besides, the civil law demands that Directors shall acquaint themselves with the interests of their corporations, and failure to do so is in the eyes of the law regarded as criminal negligence.
Being a lawyer, one would naturally expect that the President would do all in his power to have his fellow-members of the Board cooperate in the administration of the affairs of the Society over which all had been given a stewardship. This would have been the course of wisdom and what would have been expected even of one not professing Christian principles.
PERSECUTION AND INTIMIDATION †
IT WAS NOT long till the Directors recognized that a serious mistake had been made in adopting by-laws that placed the entire management in the Presidentís hands, contrary to the Charter. Although they endeavored to cooperate with him in the direction of the affairs of the Society, they now became objects of persecution and intimidation, chiefly by the Presidentís Representative, who had previously declared of some of them that "if they did not get out they would be kicked out."
We realize, dear brethren, that many of these things will appear strange to you. It seems almost impossible that such a situation could exist among those of like precious faith, and especially in the Bethel and the Tabernacle. But such is the fact, and we must all meet the condition sooner or later and deal with it as we believe the Lord would have us do.
POLICEMAN CALLED TO EJECT DIRECTORS †
No course has appeared too drastic for the President and his Representative in order to secure and maintain autocratic control of the Society. During Brother Rutherfordís absence in July, a rumor reached us that we would not be permitted to enter the Tabernacle office. Astonished, and doubtful that such treatment would be accorded a majority of the Trustees of the Society whose duties would naturally call them to the Tabernacle, we desired information as to whether such an order had been issued and by whom. While seeking this information in the office, we were ordered outside by Brother Macmillan. Believing we had a perfect right in the office, we remained five minutes, when we retired to the Chapel upstairs, where there was no one but ourselves. Presently there approached us Brother Macmillan with a policeman.
"Officer, put these men out!" said the Presidentís Representative.
"Move on, Gentlemen!" said the policeman to the Directors.
"You have no right to put us out, Officer," replied one of the Directors; "we are employed by this Society, and we are not disturbing anybody or anything."
"Of course I have no right to put you out!" responded the policeman. "It is I who should go out instead"; and away he went.
The President himself has since this episode expressed his approval and endorsement of this act of violence on the part of Brother Macmillan.
RESOLUTION PRODUCES CRISIS †
In view of all that had transpired in the months past, the Directors decided that some action should be taken to undo the mistake in placing such sweeping power in Brother Rutherfordís hands at the beginning of the year. The first step toward rectifying the matter was to repeal the by-laws, thus restoring to the Board its authority as provided in the Charter.
It was at this same time that Brother Johnsonís affair came up for consideration. When he returned from England he was given two hearings, in neither of which did he have a fair chance to present his case, and later, learning that there were complications that had not been brought out and adjusted, the Directors gave assurance to Brother Johnson that they were in favor of his having a full and fair hearing. It was at this time, when the Board insisted upon giving the Brother a further opportunity to explain his matters, that Brother Rutherford censured the Directors, telling them that the management was in his hands and that it was none of their business, that he, himself, had settled Brother Johnsonís affair. Thus the real issue, the management of the Society, came to the front and led to the resolution to repeal the by-laws.
At a meeting of the Board of Directors in June, before the policeman incident, a resolution was presented to rescind the by-laws.
This was the last meeting ever held by the Directors over which Brother Rutherford presided. When the resolution came up the President raised such a storm of opposition that the brethren yielded to his appeal to hold the resolution over until the next meeting, which was announced for July 20th. Although two or three requests were subsequently made for a meeting prior thereto, these were refused by the President until July 17.
BROTHER RUSSELLíS DIRECTORS PUT OUT-BROTHER RUTHERFORDíS PUT IN †
The next few weeks were eventful. The President now realized the Directors were fully awake to their responsibilities. He was determined, however, that they should never acquire and use the power delegated to them in the Charter.
The President took a trip to Philadelphia to consult a lawyer. Then he started on his trip West. During his absence he heard of the disturbance at the Tabernacle re the policeman and telegraphed Brother McGee of Trenton that if he were advising us, to tell us to wait until his return, when all would be adjusted.
Little did we realize how the adjustment would be made. His design was that upon the advice of his Philadelphia lawyer he would declare illegal the Board of Directors through whom Brother Russell had been doing illegal (?) business for so many years. On his homeward journey he visited Pittsburgh and appointed brethren to take our places, whom no doubt he felt certain would never attempt to rescind his by-laws, as this was his only cause for complaint against us.
At the noonday meal in the Bethel Dining Room on July 17, Brother Rutherford made the startling announcement to all gathered there that the Directors of the Society had never been legally elected, and that he had declared the offices of four of them vacant and appointed new ones in their places. All the old Directors were present and the Brethren he had appointed were also present.
Brother Russellís Board Brother Rutherfordís New Board Brother Rutherford Brother Rutherford Brother Pierson, Cromwell, Conn. Brother Pierson, Cromwell, Conn.
Brother Van Amburgh Brother Van Amburgh Brother Ritchie Brother Fisher, Scranton, Pa.
Brother Wright Brother Spill, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Brother Hirsh Brother Bohnet, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Brother Hoskins Brother Macmillan.
Brother Pierson in his letter to Brother Ritchie has taken his stand with the majority members of the old Board, giving us a majority-five to two.
AN APPEAL TO THE VOTING SHAREHOLDERS †
WE BELIEVE that Brother Rutherford has made a very grave mistake in adopting such high-handed methods and we appeal to the consecrated judgment and good sense of the voting shareholders of the Society and to all "Watch Tower" readers everywhere! We appeal not for any special and personal consideration for ourselves. We are in this controversy merely seeking to act as your representatives. We appeal to you in the interests of our Beloved Society and for your own responsibility as shareholders to protect its welfare and to carry out the wishes and plans of the founder, our dear Pastor, and to arouse you to the fact that violence has been done to these.
This last step of Brother Rutherford was as contrary to Brother Russellís judgment as expressed in the Charter of the Society as the formerís endeavor to secure entire control of the Societyís affairs. According to the Charter, which we print elsewhere in this pamphlet, no member of the Board of Directors can be removed from office except "by a two-thirds vote of the shareholders" at the annual election held in Pittsburgh the first Saturday in January. And yet the President has gone so far in the direction of grasping further power and control as to forcibly remove four of its members from office and expel them from Bethel! The question which we have been considering and which each of you must consider is: Is it safe to leave the management of the Societyís affairs in the hands of one who shows such disrespect and seeming contempt for Brother Russellís wishes and the safeguards which he endeavored to throw around the management of the work after his death? Is it safe to have the control of the Society so placed that any and all of the workers who come into conflict with the high-handed and autocratic ideas of the President shall be summarily dismissed from Bethel and not permitted, no matter how efficient and desirous of serving, to continue in the work at headquarters? Such is the present condition and it has resulted directly and indirectly in the removal of more than 25 brothers and sisters from the Bethel and Tabernacle within a few weeks.
In this connection is it not remarkable that Brother Rutherford should appoint as new Directors three brethren who live so far from Brooklyn-two at Pittsburgh and one at Scranton? It is worthy of note that Brother Pierson also is not a resident of Brooklyn; in fact lives several hoursí journey away. Thus a majority of the new Board is not in close touch with the work, nor able to intelligently supervise the Executiveís actions and conduct of the work, unless he sees fit to submit much more comprehensive statements of his activities and the finances of the Society than he has in the past.
BROTHER RUTHERFORDíS LEGAL CLAIMS NOT SUSTAINED †
To justify his course in dismissing the four Directors, Brother Rutherford brought forward a Pennsylvania statute which requires that at least three Directors of a Corporation of that State must be residents of the Commonwealth. Upon this he also based his action in appointing the three brethren living in Pennsylvania.
However, a clause in the law reads that this statute is not to apply to Corporations already in existence. The Watch Tower Corporation was chartered several years prior thereto, hence the statute respecting the three Directors from Pennsylvania has no application to the Directors of our Society.
Whether Brother Rutherford overlooked this clause we are not in a position to know. Although he listened to Brother McGee discuss this and other points for an hour before the Philadelphia Church, where both sides of the case were presented, Brother Rutherford, although he followed in rebuttal, never once referred to this fact, nor to any other legal point raised by Brother McGee, who is Assistant to the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey.
In this connection we might add that several lawyers have volunteered opinions upon the merits of this case. Some live in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, and without a single exception all have agreed that, even aside from the moral wrong, Brother Rutherfordís course is wholly unlawful.
DECLARES CHARTER MOST REMARKABLE DOCUMENT †
Few of the friends of the Truth have not read in the Memorial Number of "The Watch Tower" the oration delivered on the occasion of our Pastorís funeral in The Temple in New York. The oration was delivered by Brother Rutherford, and in order to show his estimate then of the Charter of the Society, we quote from it on page 374, first column, second paragraph, as follows: "The work [that is the work of the Harvest] grew to great proportions; and, desiring that it might be conducted in a systematic manner and perpetuated after his death, he organized the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society-a corporation, the charter of which was written by his own hand, and is admitted, by men who know, to be a most remarkable document . Through this channel he has promulgated the message of Messiahís Kingdom to all the nations of the earth."
Comment on this seems unnecessary. It speaks for itself. We leave it to sink into the hearts and minds of the Lordís people everywhere and to make its own appropriate impression. Suffice it to say, however, that it must be apparent to all that there has developed a great change in Brother Rutherfordís mind between the time of his election and the time he wrote "Siftings"-a period of only seven months.
Showing further the sweeping change in his mind since last December, we quote the following from "The Watch Tower" of December 15th, 1916, page 390, written by Brother Rutherford himself, shortly after Brother Russellís death, which gives an accurate and comprehensive account of the organization and the purpose of the Society: ORGANIZATION OF THE WORK "It is recognized that everything must be done decently and in order; that there must be a regular organization to carry on any work. How, then, may the Harvest work be thus conducted since Brother Russell is no longer in our midst? Many of the friends throughout the country are asking this and other questions, and we take pleasure in answering: "The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was organized in the year 1884 as a means of putting forth the Message of the Kingdom in an orderly and systematic manner. The Corporation is controlled and managed by its Board of Directors and Officers. The Board of Directors is composed of seven members. The Charter of the Corporation provides that the Board of Directors shall be self-perpetuating ; that is to say, when a vacancy occurs by death or resignation the surviving members are empowered to fill such vacancy. Brother Russell was a member of the Board of Directors. Two days after his death the Board met and elected Brother A. N. Pierson as a member of the Board to fill the vacancy caused by Brother Russellís change. The seven members of the Board as now constituted are A. I. Ritchie, W. E. Van Amburgh, H. C. Rockwell, J. D. Wright, I. F. Hoskins, A. N. Pierson, and J. F. Rutherford."
BROTHER JOHNSONíS CASE NOT THE ISSUE †
Doubtless some of our readers will ask: "Did not you four brethren form a league with Brother Johnson and want to send him back to England?" No, dear brethren, we had no such thought. It is in connection with this very point that the highest tide of error and misrepresentation is reached in "Harvest Siftings."
Throughout the paper the Directors are charged with having come under Brother Johnsonís influence, so that they have espoused his cause and made him their leader and that they were intending to send him back to England, etc.
From what we have said foregoing in these pages, we believe that all can see that the coupling of Brother Johnsonís affairs with the Board of Directors is an attempt to becloud the real issue and the real trouble, which existed before the return of Brother Johnson to America. Since self-exaltation began before there was any trouble about the English case, and since objections to the Presidentís course were made from January to March, it is manifest that Brother Johnson had nothing to do with our affair. It is absolutely untrue that Brother Johnson became in any sense a leader of the Directors. It is equally untrue that the brethren ever thought of returning him to the English Branch, even though two Committees appointed by the President, one in England and one in America, reported favorably on much of his work.
At no time did we ever contemplate deposing Brother Rutherford and making Brother Johnson President, as Brother Rutherford well knew. He and those with him also well know that we did not plot against him to oust him and seize control, to exalt ourselves and humiliate him. Since we frequently thus assured him, we cannot understand how he could believe and publish the contrary. All we wished to do was to co-operate with him for the good of the work; and we were well pleased that he act as President and presiding officer. But we were not prepared to quietly allow him to set aside our Pastorís Will and Charter and "lord it over Godís heritage" without a protest. That protest is the cause of all the trouble, even as St. Paul preaching the Truth at Ephesus was mobbed, and then charged with being a disturber of the peace.
VIOLENCE IN THE BETHEL †
AT the close of a conference near noon, Friday, July 27, Brother Rutherford tried to draw the Directors into an argument and partially succeeded. Then in a voice of wrath he demanded that if we had any ultimatum to deliver we should deliver it then. When told that we had none, he replied: "Then I have one to deliver to you," and standing up, he delivered his decree: "My authority in this house has got to be obeyed and you will all get out of this house by Monday noon. Brother Johnson will get out today." A few moments later there occurred in the Bethel Dining Room a scene which we are loath to report; but we believe you should know the lengths to which these matters have gone in order that you may see the kind of fruitage that now appears.
At the noonday meal, Brother Rutherford reported to the Bethel Family that we would be compelled to leave the Bethel Home by Monday noon. The brethren then considered it their duty to make some statement to the Family. Brother Rutherford wished the Family to hear only his statement; but we persisted, and one of our number said that he wished to read a letter from Brother Pierson stating that he "would stand by the old Board." Brother Rutherford refused to let the letter be read and shouted that Brother Johnson had been to see Brother Pierson and had misrepresented the matter to him. Upon Brother Johnsonís firm denial of this, Brother Rutherford hastened to him and using physical force, which nearly pulled Brother Johnson off his feet, said in a fit of passion: "You will leave this house before night; if you do not go out, you will be put out." Before night this threat was carried into effect. Brother Johnsonís personal effects were literally set outside the Bethel Home and brethren, as watchmen, were placed at various doors to prevent him from entering the house again.
Following is a copy of Brother Piersonís letter:
BROTHER PIERSON TAKES STAND WITH OLD BOARD †
Cromwell, Conn., July 26, 1917.
Mr. A. I. Ritchie, My Dear Brother Ritchie: I thank you for your favor of the 21st, received last Monday. Meanwhile I have been waiting on the Lord to know what to say in reply. After reading the letter, the words of the Psalmist came to my mind, recurring many times since: "The meek will He guide in Judgment; and the meek will He teach His way." Consequently I have taken time to make this reply: On entering the meeting room at the Bethel a week ago last Tuesday morning I was very much surprised to find that Brother Rutherford had appointed a new Board, and so expressed myself to those present. Presently we heard the reading of a letter from a Philadelphia law firm, in which were set forth the facts mentioned in the resolution read before the Bethel Family, viz., that the Board of Directors, as constituted, was not a legal one, therefore its members were not legally directors. Thereupon I expressed the thought that if these brethren were not legally members of the Board of Directors-which position some of them had held for many years in the eyes of the friends in general-then the fact remains that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has never had a legal Board. To this Brother Rutherford assented. I further stated that if it was true that the Societyís business had been carried on for so many years in a manner not entirely in harmony with the requirements of law, it surely could be continued in the same way for a few more months, until another annual meeting. This was not a motion, but merely a criticism or suggestion, upon which no action was taken.
When the Committee which had drawn up the resolution presented it to me, I told them frankly that, while I had nothing whatever against the brethren chosen, I did object to the appointment of a new Board. After hearing the discussion by the different brethren, including Brother McGeeís summing up of the articles of the charter, I came to the conclusion that the statements concerning the legal standing of the members of the Board did not place the situation in its true light; for if four of the seven members of the Board were not legally Directors, then the other three, who had been elected as the Societyís officers by the shareholders, would have the same standing so far as membership in the Board of Directors is concerned. While the charter, as published in the little blue-covered booklet we received, makes no provision for the selection of the members of the Board of Directors and specifies that "the members of the Board of Directors shall hold their respective offices for life, unless removed by a two-thirdsí vote of the shareholders."
You ask why I signed the resolution that was so detrimental to yourself and the other brethren. I felt that there was a measure of wrong on both sides. Some of you brethren had made statements at Philadelphia and other places which called for an explanation, and a letter of some kind was due the friends who asked for such an explanation. This resolution was drawn up by a Committee, whose original intention was to have it published, to which I objected. While I admire Brother Rutherfordís ability and his wisdom in settling many difficult questions for the Society, and while I fully believe that it is the Lordís will that he should be our President, yet I cannot approve of some things he did in connection with this matter.
One of my principal weaknesses, as far as I know myself, is that it is very hard for me to say "No," especially to brethren I love so much as I do all the members of the Board, including the brethren newly appointed; in fact, all who are truly the Lordís. When signing the resolution, I had strong hopes that reconciliation might be made between the two parties who differed, and that neither publication of the resolution nor any other explanation from either side might be necessary. Before I signed, however, a number of statements to which I objected were stricken out. After being thus modified, it was further agreed that copies of this resolution should be sent only to Classes and brethren that had heard of the trouble and requested an explanation. I held out for some hours against a thing I did not believe in, but since the brethren had changed it, eliminating some objectionable paragraphs, and agreeing to send it only to inquiring friends, I finally signed, as a compromise.
When our Secretary showed me a copy of the resolution which had been sent to the Class, I could not help but think that it had been sent far and wide to all Classes; and I felt that I had not taken the proper course in signing even after it had been amended. Now that I have reason to believe a general circulation of this resolution has been made, I want to assure you that had I foreseen this I should never have signed the paper. I feel that title has done you four brethren a decided injury, because, in my opinion, none of you has any desire to do any harm to the Society or bring about a division, but that you simply differ with Brother Rutherford about the control of the Society; that it is your desire to stand by the charter and the principles of Brother Russell, which recognize the Board of Directors as having the power of control. I have now concluded to take a firmer stand for what I believe is the right, viz., that the appointment of the new members to take the place of the four who were not legally members according to the decision of the Philadelphia law firm was not the proper course, and will therefore stand by the old Board.
A copy of this letter goes to Brother Rutherford. With much Christian Love, as ever, Your brother in Christ, A. N. PIERSON, Vice President.
P.S.-You have my permission to make such use of this letter as you may deem wise.
A few days later, after repeated threats by the President to forcibly accomplish their ejection from the Home, the four Directors, though they considered the Bethel their home, and as having the same right there as Brother Rutherford and others, decided to submit to the injustice of Brother Rutherfordís orders, and have since gone forth from the Home. It was as a result of Brother Piersonís negotiation and intercession that Brother Rutherford, after threatening to force our ejection, agreed with him to make an allowance to cover the expenses of the brethren leaving the Home. The sum was $300.00; but in no sense did it represent an adjustment of matters, but merely as making some provision for brethren who after long years of service, now without means, were about to be forced out into the world to start life anew.
To justify this drastic and violent action toward his brethren in thrusting them from the Home that had sheltered them during the long years that they labored harmoniously with Brother Russell, Brother Rutherford and his associates say that it was done because we were disturbing the Bethel Family and the work, and, therefore, done "for the good of the Cause." We derive comfort from Isaiahís prophecy, quoted in the Photo Drama: "Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my nameís sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified, but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed."
At no time has any of us said or done anything among the Bethel Family or any of the Classes to stir up trouble..service of the Redeemer, Christian love 9b On Wednesday morning, Aug. 22, a copy of the following letter was received by Bros. Hoskins, Hirsh, Wright and Ritchie: " Dear Brother: "In view of the fact that you no longer have Sunday appointments under the direction of the Peoples Pulpit Assn.; and further, in view of the fact that your clerical cards were secured from the various railroads under the name of the Peoples Pulpit Association, we would ask that you return these cards to us in order that we might be protected from what the roads might consider as an injustice toward them. With ," Yours in the "Peoples Pulpit Assn."
From this it is seen that they take away our opportunities of service, and then require us to turn over railroad permits, which do not belong to them. If the managers of the Peoples Pulpit Association are doing their duty they have nothing to fear from the Railroads, nor from us.
DIVISION AT BETHEL †
It is proper in this connection to refer also to the support which Brother Rutherford claims from the Bethel Family. The facts are that the Presidentís special representative and others, with the Presidentís official sanction, has for months been secretly carrying on a campaign amongst the Bethel Family and the traveling Pilgrim brethren, spreading false reports regarding the Board members, and prejudicing the minds of the Family against them. Some of the Pilgrim brethren, as they passed through Brooklyn, stopping for a day or two, had these evil things whispered in their ears, and then were sent forth to give them to the Classes.
After this campaign had been carried on amongst the Family for some time they began to circulate petitions among the workers to support the President and his management and to condemn the Directors, the understanding being that all who refused to sign would be dismissed from the service, with the result that many signed these petitions, some because they had been prejudiced, and others because of fearing they would be thrust out of Bethel. Hence the partial list of names of the Bethel Family which appeared in "Siftings." Some who refused to sign these petitions were discharged and some others who signed the petitions have since been dismissed because they disapproved of "Siftings," with its false charges.
THE PRESIDENTíS SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE †
The author of "Harvest Siftings" has something to say about Brother MacMillanís appointment by Brother Russell last August as assistant to the President. Several letters are quoted in support of the fact, and on page 22, bottom of the second column, Brother Rutherford states that "Brothers Hoskins, Hirsh, and Ritchie were displeased with Brother MacMillanís appointment by Brother Russell" and that they had been working against him from the first.
We believe it is enough to say that there has never been the slightest doubt in our minds that Brother MacMillan received such an appointment by Brother Russell last August, nor have we disputed the fact at any time, nor was there the slightest objection in our minds to this appointment made by Brother Russell. To the contrary, it is a fact well known to Brother MacMillan that all three of the above-named brethren heartily co-operated with him at the time of his appointment by Brother Russell and for months afterwards. We would say, however, that it is one thing for Brother MacMillan to be Manager under Brother Russell and quite another matter for him to be Manager under Brother Rutherford.
As an example of the turn of mind on the part of Brother MacMillan, the brother approached Brother Hoskins at the time of Brother Russellís funeral in Pittsburg, November 6, and only a few feet removed from the dead body of our Pastor, Brother MacMillan said: "Brother Hoskins, I have something to say to you that I know will hurt you very much, and I havenít any idea that you have strength of character sufficient to follow my advice; but I am going to tell you, anyway. I think every one of you Directors except Brothers Rutherford and Van Amburgh ought to resign and give a chance for some decent men who know something to be put in your places. There is not one of you fit to manage anything, and you ought to resign; and if you donít resign you will, every one of you, get kicked out."
Brother MacMillan has since rendered efficient service to Brother Rutherford in fulfilling his own prophecy-"kicking out" the four members of the Board. And those were the thoughts that were being entertained by him as we stood beside the bier of our great leader, while others bowed their heads in sorrow, considering it a time for deep searching of the heart and drawing near to God. Preferring not to go into personalities or the details of the conduct of Brother MacMillan we believe that it will be sufficient to say that soon after Brother Russellís death, under loose rein, Brother MacMillan demonstrated his utter unfitness for the Position originally assigned him by Brother Russell. In the course of a few months it became evident to the Directors that it was their duty to make some changes with regard to Brother MacMillanís position, even as Brother Russell had often made changes in the position of the brethren when he discovered that they did not property fit in the places he had given them.
That there was any malice or prejudice or jealousy in any of our hearts with regard to him or that any of us were seeking his place we most positively deny. It was purely in the interests of the work and because there were so many complaints regarding Brother MacMillan that the change was desired.
HIGH-HANDEDNESS GOING FROM BAD TO WORSE †
STRANGE indeed that when the mind becomes once bent in a wrong direction, it colors everything to its own liking and can find excuses to justify almost anything; and so the motto of such is "the end justifies the means."
We come now to some proceedings on the part of Brother Rutherford, assisted by Brothers MacMillan and Van Amburgh- proceedings of which we could not believe these brethren capable, for we could scarcely think them so blind to the principles of justice and righteousness did we not ourselves witness what occurred.
In the latter part of July Brother Rutherford announced a meeting of the members of the Peoples Pulpit Association to be held July 31, which he declared was for the purpose of expelling from membership on the Board of Directors and from membership in the Association Brothers Hirsh and Hoskins. The hour arrived and the meeting was called to order with fourteen members present out of a total of some forty members. The charges were read against the two brethren, to the effect that they had withdrawn their moral support and were in opposition to the work of the Association. To support these charges several trumped-up accusations were read which the two accused brethren easily and clearly refuted. They denied that they had withdrawn their moral support or that they were working in opposition to the Peoples Pulpit Association, and showed to the contrary that their whole purpose was to sustain and uphold the work in both the Peoples Pulpit Association and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, as Brother Russell intended it to be carried on. At the conclusion of the hearing and the answering of the charges the result was that the accusers found that of the members present there was not a sufficient number who would believe their false charges and accusations so as to favor the expulsion.
Then what did they do? With cruel audacity that seems little short of Satanic, and of which we could scarcely believe an ordinary worldly man capable, these three accusers, led by Brother Rutherford, gathered together a lot of proxies of various of the Pilgrims, members of the Peoples Pulpit Association, that had been sent in the first of the year for the purpose of voting for officers of the Association at that time. The following is a sample of the proxies: "Proxy ............................, 1917.
"To .................... a member of the Peoples Pulpit Association: "You are hereby authorized to act as my proxy and to cast my vote at the annual meeting of the Peoples Pulpit Association to be held at the office of the Corporation, at 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, N. Y., on the 10th day of January, 1917.
These proxies, which were intended only for the election of the officers in January, were from brethren who were absent and heard nothing of the charges brought against Brothers Hoskins and Hirsh on July 31. These proxies were taken and used for the purpose of voting these two brethren out of office, and thus accomplished their expulsion from the Directorship and from the Association, when if the vote had been taken merely of those present who heard the charges and who only were capable of judging, the charges and the attempt at expulsion would have fallen to the ground. And though seven of those present earnestly protested against such highhanded methods, no heed was given to their protests.
We are advised by good authority that such acts and conduct are subject to criminal indictment and that if carried to the courts would meet with swift and severe punishment.
Amongst the proxies held by Brother MacMillan of the brethren absent at the meeting, was that of Brother Paul E. Thomson, formerly of the Bethel Home, later of Detroit, Mich. Brother MacMillan, evidently feeling some apprehension regarding this illegal use of the proxies, wrote to Brother Thomson to secure his endorsement of his act. Brother Thomson wrote a reply which we append: Further comment on this is unnecessary: "Detroit, Mich.
"Dear Brother MacMillan: "Failure of the copy of ĎHarvest Siftingsí you sent me to arrive has delayed my reply to your letter asking my approval of your action in using my proxy for the removing of Brothers Hirsh and Hoskins from the Board of Directors of the Peoples Pulpit Association. I have just finished the reading of a borrowed copy of the ĎSiftings.í "Without evidence additional to that contained in ĎHarvest Siftingsí I would not have cast my vote against the Brothers mentioned. My one reading locates no definite charges against them, but merely surmisings. If surmisings were to hang people you and Brother Rutherford would have been strung up long ago by my side .
"As I recall it, my proxy was given for the yearly election of officers and not for the making of any changes in the Board. In that case you were wrong in using it as you did and the Brothers should have a fair vote on the matter. For that reason I am sending your letter and a carbon of mine to them for their information.
"Please do not understand that I have lost confidence in the judgment of yourself or Brother Rutherford. I merely never had absolute confidence in the judgment of anyone. We are all finding it easier to be wrong than to be right. Some are wrong this time and it is two out of four in whom I have had about equal confidence in the past. I trust that you are all trying to be right and I hope that some day we will all succeed.
"I suppose no further use will be made of my proxy. It is not my wish that there be any further voting done with it.
"Be assured of my continued love for you, Brother Mac, and that you have a daily interest in my petitions.
"Your brother by His grace, Paul E. Thomson."
The Brooklyn "Eagle" recently published a statement describing the disturbed condition of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and the Bethel Home, and Brother MacMillan in his letter to Brother Thomson charges that the "opposition" (referring to the Board of Directors) had given the information to the "Eagle." We would say that none of the members of the Board had anything to do with getting the statement in the "Eagle," nor do any of these brethren have any knowledge whatsoever of how the information reached the "Eagle," except it might have been through the calling in of the policeman at the Tabernacle by Brother MacMillan himself.
NO LAW SUIT †
We are charged in "Harvest Siftings" with great wrong because we consulted an attorney with regard to some legal matters; but it was not until the President himself had repeatedly told us that certain portions of the Charter were illegal that we considered it our duty to consult an attorney, who is a brother, well established in the Truth. And his advice, which proved to be sound, revealed to us that Brother Rutherfordís legal opinion was very unsound. Then the President made a trip to Philadelphia to consult a lawyer there with the purpose of securing a legal opinion which would justify his declaring the Board illegal. Was it wrong for us to get legal advice when we saw one after another of the wise safeguards devised by our Pastor being swept away? It was not our desire to go into court proceedings. Far from it. And yet, all corporations are creatures of the law and necessarily subject to it. The law requires that Directors shall direct. They must know what their corporation is doing, and if they allow a President or other official to exceed his powers to the detriment of the corporation, they do so at their own peril, especially if they are driven in the direction of the law and do not take steps to protect their trust.
Therefore, many brethren have advised that as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is a business corporation, it was nothing short of our duty as Directors to protect its interests.
But though we are assured that the courts would not sustain the action of the President in his efforts to subvert the Societyís Charter, but would decide in our favor, it is not our intention to institute a friendly suit or any other kind of a suit to determine the question at issue. We feel that we have discharged our obligation thus far in making known these conditions to the voting shareholders, having narrated events leading up to the present situation at headquarters. Briefly, the situation is that all who do not approve the Presidentís course and conduct are one by one being required to leave the work here. This has already affected four of us, together with our families as respects residence at Bethel, and three of us with respect to the work as well, and while Brother Hirsh, by the Presidentís order, may no longer live at Bethel, as a member of the Editorial Committee he continues to work at his desk.
RE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION †
REALIZING the weakness of his position and his inability to legally maintain full control of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, because the Charter states that the Corporation shall be managed by the Board of Directors, Brother Rutherford finally comes forward in "Harvest Siftings" with a new argument, which it would seem is but another effort to conceal the real issue.
On page 16 he brings forward the Peoples Pulpit Association, saying that as President of that Association he has full control of all the affairs of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in the State of New York, with the result that he would nullify and make void the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and establish as the dominant factor in the work the Peoples Pulpit Association. As a matter of fact the very reverse is the case-that the Society is the controlling Corporation. We can do no better than quote Brother Russellís explanation in "The Watch Tower" of December 1, 1915, page 359, years after the Peoples Pulpit charter was copied from the charter of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society-with the exception of a few words. The explanation mentioned is as follows: "The whole management is by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and these auxiliary organizations merely help in carrying on its work. We sometimes use one name and sometimes another, just as anyone would have the right to use any names appropriate to his work. It is equally appropriate to say that we are the International Bible Students Association. We are Bible students, and are helping Bible students in all parts of the world by the printed page, by financial assistance and in other ways. It is also appropriate to use the name Peoples Pulpit Association in connection with persons who are engaged in preaching and are acting under guidance of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
"In other words, the Peoples Pulpit Association cannot transact business except through the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has the management, and the Peoples Pulpit Association does the work-absolutely."
The following also appears on the Tract Fund Acknowledgment letters sent out by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society: "N. B. All contributions should be remitted to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, as it is the parent Corporation, having general supervision of the work. All other corporate names used in connection with the work are merely auxiliary to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society."
In this connection it is well to remember that Brother Rutherford has stated that the preparation of Volume Seven did not cost the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society one cent, as all the funds (probably over $20,000.00), were contributed by a brother for that purpose. The book was prepared without the knowledge of either the Directors or the Editorial Committee, and was copyrighted and issued by the Peoples Pulpit Association. Since none of the money was donated to the Society, and since the proceeds from the sale of the book are kept separate from the Societyís funds, of course the said brother will not be entitled to 2,000 or more voting shares to which such a donation to the Society would bring him.
In view of the foregoing, dear brethren, remember that if the Peoples Pulpit Association is substituted for the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, instead of being an agent to the Society, every shareholder in the Society will thereby lose his vote altogether, because there are fewer than fifty votes, all told, held in the Peoples Pulpit Association. It is in the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society alone in which you have secured one vote for each $10.00 contributed to the work.
THE WILL DISCREDITED AND DECLARED ILLEGAL †
SCARCELY had Brother Russellís body grown cold in death until his Will was declared to be not in "legal form," and therefore not binding, or obligatory. We understand that when he wrote it in 1907, he well knew this; and it is our thought that he designedly left it so to reveal whether those who would follow him in authority would have sufficient respect for him and his expressed wishes, to faithfully follow them, even if the civil law did not compel them to do so.
The events of the last eight months have evidenced the great wisdom he showed.
Paragraphs 15 and 16 are a very important part of the will; and reveal in part how our Pastor arranged that his wishes in regard to the management of the Society after his decease would be safeguarded, by arranging that his voting shares be used by five sisters to endeavor to elect only such men as President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer as they had good reason to think would closely follow the letter and spirit of the Charter and the Will. Such an arrangement would surely commend itself to every right intentioned person. You will be surprised to learn that our President almost at once took exception to the arrangement, and hinted that the whole Will and arrangement was "illegal." He procured a long legal opinion from a local firm of attorneys, which was used to prevent the sisters from voting the shares at the election at Pittsburgh on January 6. It was claimed that these shares merely constituted the Pastorís Church membership; and that it could not be "legally" bequeathed. The fact that the 45,000 shares had been donated to the Society ten years previously, on certain terms (which they were disregarding) was overlooked, and these Sisters have been the trustees of these voting shares ten years prior to his death, and his death, therefore, would not make void their right to vote those shares. Thus was another safeguard made by "that wise and faithful servant" against the possible seizing of the Societyís income and trust funds by ambitious men destroyed. We can see no harm that could come to anyone by allowing the shares to be voted according to the Will; and we see much danger from their cancellation. When any arrangement of the Pastorís does not suit the new President, he usually finds a way to declare it "illegal"; but if it will be to his advantage, he uses it and refers to him as "that wise and faithful servant."
If the sistersí committee, authorized by the Will, has no legal existence, is it not true that the Editorial Committee, which has no other authority for its existence, is equally illegal?
THE PRESIDENTíS MANAGEMENT †
The President has expressed overconfidence in stating that nothing has been found wrong with his conduct of the affairs of the Society. Unfortunately, several important matters seem to have been poorly handled during his administration; namely, the Photo Drama, the sale of which was announced by the President at the Pittsburgh Convention as evidently the Lordís Will, but which was afterward forced back upon the Society.
It is well known that the Angelophone has until recently been poorly handled, and has caused the writing of hundreds of letters of complaint by the friends. This could have been avoided very largely by keeping on with Brother Russellís plan respecting this enterprise, his instructions being to have new records made at once in case his voice was not satisfactory.
Many efforts were made to have the President follow these instructions, but he could not be persuaded until a sister from Illinois came forward and paid $1,500.00 to have the lectures rerecorded. Brother Cooke is now handling the Angelophone successfully notwithstanding Brother Rutherfordís advice to him to sell it to the highest bidder and get rid of it.
The pastoral work has also suffered at Brother Rutherfordís hands, not intentionally, of course. Changes in this department have caused misunderstandings and delays and much inconvenience.
Further, the Presidentís inability to work with Directors as fair-minded as those whom he has put out of Bethel is also a serious indictment against his administration of eight short months. It is conspicuously marked, too, with a long list of brethren whom he has alienated from active co-operation in the work of the Society.
The measure of progress of the work during the past eight months has been due almost altogether to the working force which Brother Russell left behind-a force which, unlike Brother Rutherford, was thoroughly trained to look after their respective parts, and did so, even in the face of the Presidentís mistakes.
REGARDING THE ANGELOPHONE †
"Harvest Siftings" refers to the fact that Brother Ritchie had requested the Board of Directors to allow him to take over and manage the Angelophone, when there was some $18,000 to the Angelophoneís account, in Bank, and gives the inference that Brother Rutherford came to the rescue and prevented the Board from voting away $18,000.00 to Brother Ritchie. The truth is that Brothers Rutherford, Van Amburgh and MacMillan despised Brother Russellís last work, the Angelophone, and hampered and ridiculed it, always seeking to kill it. The morning after Brother Russellís death, Brother MacMillan ordered Brother Cooke to cancel all the contracts and close it down. Seeing the continued opposition to the Angelophone, and knowing from Brother Russellís death that they wished to get rid of him, Brother Ritchie went to Brother Rutherford and offered to take over the business as it was, with $18,000.00 in the bank, and to endeavor, with Brother Cooke, to make it a success. His reply was: "I love you too much to let you try it. If you were a man of the world I would do it in a minute."
He did not explain that the business was in debt $25,000.00, and more than $7,000.00 would soon be due. Brother Ritchieís acquaintances will not believe that he wished to take advantage of the Society.
COMPOSED HIS OWN BIOGRAPHY
It SEEMS too bad that at considerable expense we brethren should be called upon to get out a reply to Brother Rutherfordís "Siftings." Many times we have felt like doing nothing in the matter, but depending wholly upon the good sense and training of the Lordís people not to judge, lest they be judged. But the Lord evidently means that we should now do something in the way of making known to the friends conditions as they have really existed at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and Bethel since Brother Rutherfordís election, although these conditions were known to but a few until several weeks ago-the few preferring to keep silent and bear the burden, not even telling their wives, in the hope that the President would come to his senses and rectify the wrongs.
At such a time as this there are found those who, for one reason or another, will go to undue lengths to support those who wield the power. We have in mind just now Brother Hudgings, who, however, has overreached himself in this instance and makes a bad matter worse. Whatever possessed him, under oath, to testify that Brother Hirsh "composed the article" on the last two pages of the Memorial Number of "The Watch Tower"-a biography of Brother Rutherford-only the Brother himself is competent to say. At any rate he went a long distance out of his way to show to the President that he is with him heart and soul. If Brother Hirsh were the author of the biography he would not be ashamed of it. There would have been no wrong committed in his composing it. In fact, it would have been much more appropriate for him to compose it than for some other person-for instance the President.
We had thought we would never mention this matter to anyone; but since the dear brother swears that Brother Hirsh "composed the article," and Brother Rutherford for some reason has seen fit to publish the sworn statement in his "Siftings," we can see no good reason why our lips should be longer sealed.
This biography of Brother Rutherford first appeared in some of the newspapers of the country the day after his election. In order to have it in the hands of distant newspapers for publication the day following Brother Rutherfordís election, it was necessary that it be prepared a week or more in advance. This was done at Brother Hirshís suggestion, but it was not composed by Brother Hirsh, who saw it for the first time when Brother Rutherford himself handed it to him.
With the exception of some necessary reductions in size the article is practically word for word as it was originally.
Brother Wisdom, too, has gone far out of his way to please the President. His letter published in "Siftings" seems characteristic.
We well remember last summer at Niagara Falls convention, when the thermometer was a hundred or more in the Convention Hall, and everybody was ready to melt, this same brother, for an hour or more, greatly to the distress of his hearers and the chairman, roasted the late Brother Abbott-and this was long after some matter had been published in his paper and adjustment had been made. It is said that Brother Wisdom while traveling at the Societyís expense, kept up this form of persecution for some time.
We were not surprised to learn that this same brother has turned both his tongue and his pen against us. Our conversation with him was so satisfactory to himself at the time as to cause him to say three times, "I cannot say that you are wrong." Instead of Brother Hirsh seeking the conversation on the train, the brother himself said, "When you get located in your sleeper ahead, come back to me." It is observed in this Brotherís letter that he was talking not only with one brother, but with others at Brooklyn and has things so jumbled as to make it practically impossible to treat his letter seriously. He has added rumor to rumor. There is a proverb to the effect that a lie will travel around the world while truth is getting her boots on. And how true this is of Brother Rutherfordís "Siftings"! He has sent it to all parts of the earth.
SLIPS OF BROTHER RUTHERFORDíS PEN †
On page 12, of "Harvest Siftings," top of second column, Brother Hoskins is quoted as saying "We, the Board, are the managers and we will give the orders." Brother Hoskins made no such statement, nor was there even the suggestion in his mind of expressing any such spirit. When Brother Rutherford stated before the Board members that the entire management was in his hands and that it was none of the Boardís business, Brother Hoskins merely read Article VI of the charter, "The Corporation is to be managed by a Board of Directors consisting of seven members."
Again, on the same page, Brother Rutherford quotes Brother Hoskins as saying, "We have been consulting lawyers and we know what we can do." Again the quotation is misleading. Instead of the above, Brother Hoskins in the presence of the Board members quietly said, "Since you told us last week at the meeting that the shareholders made the by-laws at Pittsburgh which gave you your power, we thought you might be mistaken, and in the meantime I have consulted an attorney who has informed me that you were in error on the point in question."
Again on page 12, "Siftings" charges us with saying, "The Board of Directors are not answerable to the shareholders." No such statement was made by any of us. What we did say was, that since the charter of the Society gives the power to the Directors to make by-laws, therefore those by-laws which originated with Brother Rutherford, were not legal and binding merely because they were at his suggestion formally passed by the shareholders.
Again, on page 17, first column, one of the members of the Board of Directors is quoted as saying: "There will be no meeting of the Board of Directors today; you understand that!" Again the truth is lacking. Instead of the above, the following is the truth: The brother referred to approached Brother Rutherford and asked him about a matter and Brother Rutherford replied: "That matter will be settled at the Board meeting this morning." And to this the brother quietly answered, "I believe, Brother Rutherford, there will be no meeting of the Board this morning."
Another slip of our brotherís pen is found on page 17, bottom of first column of "Harvest Siftings." It is claimed that Brother Hirsh said to Brother Rutherford: "If you will put me back on the Board, I will go to Philadelphia tonight and make it more than right with them and satisfy everybody." Brother Hirsh denies this absolutely, as he had not the slightest thought of offering Brother Rutherford a bribe for anything. Besides, he denies Brother Rutherfordís legal right or power to put him off the Board.
So, of course, he did not ask to be put back.
Still another is found on page 23, first column, first paragraph, about "Poor Brother Wright," where "Harvest Siftings" says that he "has said several times since the trouble began that he had been dragged into this affair and induced to believe that if he did not stand by the other three he would be unfaithful; that he wished he was out of it." Brother Wright has three times in the presence of his accusers denied making any such statement or anything to that effect. Brother Wright has not been dragged into anything, for he has from the first been heart and soul with the other members in defense of the principles of our Society.
On page 17, first column, and page 23, second column, of his "Siftings," Brother Rutherford states that one of the brethren cancelled his appointment at Bridgeton, N. J., in order to meet one of the other brethren in Philadelphia. One of these brethren did have an appointment at Bridgeton on Sunday morning, which he failed to fulfil on account of missing train connections, but he had no appointment whatever Sunday evening; when in passing through Philadelphia he met some friends who insisted that he remain there for the evening service.
SOME OF PRESIDENTíS FAVORITE NAMES †
Since our dear Brother Sturgeonís name was unnecessarily and improperly brought into this matter by means of this so-called "Harvest Siftings," we believe that the friends everywhere, who have a special love for him on account of his faithful devotion to.13b our dear Pastor during the time of his greatest sufferings and need, will be pleased to know that our dear brother is endeavoring, by the Lordís grace, to be just as faithful to Brother Russell now that he has gone, as he was previous to his departure. He believes that this present controversy is one that primarily concerns the Board of Directors and the President of the Society, and is willing therefore, for the Lord to make His decision known in His own way and time, until which time he is quietly waiting on the Lord, "doing with his might what his hands find to do," since he has been carefully kept off of all Boards and Committees since Brother Russellís death, saving that of the Editorial Committee. We are putting this in because we believe the friends will appreciate our so doing, since we are all concerned to know the Truth, and nothing but the Truth.
It will now scarcely surprise our readers to learn that even Brother Sturgeon has come under the wrath of our President, having been called such names as Judas and traitor.
IN RE THE PARABLE OF THE "PENNY" †
The author of "Harvest Siftings," together with some of his sympathizers, are now freely applying the Parable of the Penny to the present circumstances and saying that the "Penny" is the Seventh Volume and that the "murmurers" are those Trustees whom Brother Rutherford has expelled from Bethel. But let us see how this application fits. In the first place none of the Directors who are falsely accused of being the "murmurers" knew anything about the issuing of the seventh volume in advance of the time it was given out. Further, the matter of the seventh volume was entirely outside of the issues under discussion on that occasion.
None of the brethren accused of being "murmurers" said anything about the seventh volume, nor did they entertain any feeling against the volume. And be it known further that none of the brethren so charged did any murmuring whatsoever upon that occasion. None of their statements were complaints or in defense of themselves, but simply protests in the name of the Lord against the false charges and high-handedness of the Presidentís methods, against his gross violation of the Charter of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and Brother Russellís Will. It was the solemn duty of these Trustees to make this protest on that occasion. We repeat: Not once did we refer, either in thought or word, to the Volume.
If this be indeed "murmuring" then it is proper to say that our dear Pastor during his entire life time was a "murmurer," for he never ceased to protest against the false doctrines and practices of Christendom and all forms of unrighteousness. And so were the Reformers of old "murmurers" because they lifted up their voices in protest against sin and violence of the Papal system.
And in the same sense our Lord was the greatest of all "murmurers," for he also ceased not to protest against the hypocrisy and deception of the Scribes and Pharisees.
Consequently, the brethren who are accused of "murmuring" on the afternoon of July 17th are happy to be classed along with Brother Russell, with the Reformers, and with our Lord Jesus, none of whom were really "murmurers," but were led of the Spirit of God to make bold protest against the sin and evil of their time.
OUR PASTORíS DYING MESSAGE †"Setting The House In Order" †
WE HAVE followed Brother Rutherfordís advice in "Harvest Siftings," and have read with profit the article of our Pastor published in the November 1, 1916, Watch Tower, entitled "The Hour of Temptation." In fact, so impressed have we been by it, and so convinced that it has a special application at this time, that we have copied a portion of it, adding the word Society after the word Classes where the latter appears: "The selection of improper leaders is evidently a sin, and quite a reflection against the Classes who have the improper leaders.
How could such get into positions to represent the Lordís people, except by the latterís votes? When will the Lordís people learn that ability to talk in public is only one of the qualifications of an Elder? Time and again we have noted how the Lordís Cause has been hindered, and spirituality amongst the brethren has been stifled, by attempts to imitate the nominal church in putting forward persons glib of tongue, lacking in spirituality.
"In such a case, is it not pride on the part of the Class (Society)-a desire to make a fair show in the flesh before the world? If not, why do they elect such persons? If they have made a mistake, why do they not at once rectify it in a quiet and positive manner? When Elders seek to bring the Class (Society) under their power and control and succeed, does it not show that the Class (Society) lacks the very quality that the Lord tells us He desires to see-courage, overcoming? And does the Class (Society) not injure such a would-be ruler, as well as itself, by permitting him to succeed in his unscriptural methods?
"Deceiving And Being Deceived" †
"We have already alluded to the ambitious and selfish spirit in the world leading on to anarchy; and we have just pointed out how the same selfish, ambitious spirit is leading on to anarchy in the Church. We foresee a Time of Trouble for the world upon this score, and a Time of Trouble also for the Church. The world cannot purge itself of this class; for the leaders and the led have the worldly spirit, which is sure to wax worse and worse. But not so in the Church of Christ. Ours is the spirit of the Master, the spirit of loyalty to Truth, the spirit of the Golden Rule, the spirit of brotherly love, the spirit of liberty and helpfulness, the spirit of fidelity to what we believe to be the Truth. It is inexcusable for the Church, possessed of this spirit, to continue under the domination of ambitious men (and sometimes ambitious women). If they have not been conducting their Class (Society) affairs along proper lines, should they not begin at once? We believe that this is the time in which to set the House of the Lord in order.
"But some one will say, ĎWe would have a great disturbance if we attempted to do anything contrary to the wishes of those who have fastened themselves upon us as our leaders and rulers. To make a move at all, would endanger a division of the Class (Society), and how could we think of anything which would result in that catastrophe?í "But, we inquire, which would be the better, to have a smaller Class (Society) operating along the lines which the Lord has indicated, or a larger Class (Society) upholding principles contrary to the Lordís provision, injuring themselves, hindering their influence, and encouraging as a leader one who is either a Ďwolfí or else a Ďsheepí which has been mistakenly misled into the wolf spirit? We encourage all the dear brethren who are in such trouble to be very heroic; to see that they do nothing from strife or vain-glory, but everything in the spirit of meekness and love, that they may get back again to the liberty wherewith Christ made free, and be not again entangled in any human bondage."
"WHO SHALL BE ABLE TO STAND" †
DEAR BRETHREN and Sisters in Christ, we seem to be at the parting of the ways-the strait and narrow way, and the way of the unfaithful. "Who shall be able to stand?"
"Shall you? Shall I?"
We trust we may have learned the principles of truth and righteousness so well that we can stand for these, even if we cannot stand so well for the actions of our supposedly best earthly friends. Would we rather stand by the Lord, the truth, and those brethren who stand for principle, than to go with the majority, for the majorityís sake? If so, it is well.
Our difficulties have brought us many letters. Some write us deploring the unpleasant situation; others grasp the situation accurately and are awaiting our further statement. Many have assured us they are praying for us and for all concerned. Would that we might be able to do something that would right things, and restore peace to all. We trust, moreover, that our present effort may help some of the Lordís dear people.
Dear brethren, let us look this present trouble straight in the face and take it to the Lord in prayer, determined that we will not allow our hearts to be embittered against anyone. Let us also be careful how we receive the so-called Seventh Volume. It may be the true Seventh Volume as Brother Russell intended it, or it may not be.
One thing we feel certain of, namely, there are some fanciful interpretations in that volume, and some things that we do not hesitate to say are errors in doctrine-teaching-if we get the writerís thought-that the minds of Godís little ones, who are faithful, should become "the open battle ground for evil spirits." "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself and that wicked one toucheth him not."
Let us watch, then, and keep ourselves "in the love of God." Let us keep ourselves from all evil. Let us hold that fast which we have, that no man take our crown. Let us hold fast to our privilege of prayer, and of service in any and every way that falls to our lot. Meanwhile, let us not think it strange when fiery trials come upon us as though some really strange thing had happened unto us. Let us not become discouraged, and begin to draw back, allowing bitter feelings to come in and make us feel hard toward anyone. Let us "Watch and pray."
"God be with you till we meet at Jesusí feet."
"Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance, and supplication for all saints."
AUDITORíS LETTER TO SHAREHOLDERS †
13 Cranberry St., Brooklyn, N. Y., August 20, 1917.
TO WHOM THIS MAY CONCERN:- Deeply regretting the trials and troubles brought upon the Church by the high-handed usurpation of dominion over the affairs left by the Will of Brother Russell and the decree of the Charter of the Society placing the management of its affairs in the hands of the Directors; and being in possession of several facts pertaining to the unjust and unbusinesslike methods being followed by the present Management, it is with love toward all, "out of a pure heart," that I offer my protest against the action of those in charge in illegally disposing of four of the Societyís Directors (each, with one exception, having been our dear Pastorís choice for many years in faithful service to the Church, and each having been named by him to be so used and continued), while permitting others to continue to govern without even the assent of the shareholders.
I also protest against such methods being used as compelling conscientious and consecrated children to assist in sending out (under threat of dismissal from the work) such a defamatory document as "Harvest Siftings." I also disapprove of using the time of a large part of the office force for the issuance of such an ignoble, uncalled-for, and cruel statement as contained in this paper, entitled "Harvest Siftings." Even if the contents were true I fail to see the wisdom, justice or love in sending broadcast to the world such scathing statements, especially so when those so vilified are prohibited from having privileges of explanation, and from using the Societyís facilities in defense, as in the case of Brother Johnson, who frankly confessed and openly apologized before the Bethel family for his erroneous thought that he was the "steward" and was, presumably, forgiven by all present. Now to have the matter thus treated seems to me to show another spirit than that of the Lord Jesus.
I fail to see the right influence directed over the Bethel Home by the head of the house, warning those who require our late Pastorís wishes to be carried out (as was done in the diningroom) that he-the head-had not begun to fight yet, but if they were going to fight he would "fight to the finish." Again, to call on the Family to take sides in a controversy between himself and the Board of Directors (in an issue in which he refused discussion) by going to one side of the room and commanding those who would not side with him to go to the other side of the room; and for the head of the Bethel family to lay hands on Brother Johnson in the presence of the family while other prominent Elders and officials, supporting the President, stand aside and hiss in a manner that would resemble bar-room rowdyism; and others offering to call the police.
I fail to see the proper influence exerted at the Tabernacle during office hours at the time of the singing of the hymns; the Managers disregard the time and privilege by walking around and holding conversation and making fun at the expense of those engaged in the singing. Or to be made the subject of jokes gathered regularly at the theaters and play-houses visited the night before by some who are members of the Bethel Family, and Elders, and who support the President and his methods.
Now the above is but a partial description of what we see at Bethel and the Tabernacle, making it necessary that a Board of Directors be in charge and control. While I do not mention these matters to judge, as I know the Lord is at the helm, still I feel as if those who are supporting the work should have the privilege of having a hand in directing the work through the appointed Directors, and that they should know these facts and be privileged to know how and where the funds are being used.
Additionally I would say that I have mentioned to the President and others the fact that there are hundreds of dollars being paid out every week without record, except the check and check-stub and copies of transmittal letters. Large and small orders are given without contract price stated thereon and adjustment of accounts are constantly being held up by letters of disputing character, and with frequent loss of discounts. These are facts discovered in connection with my endeavors to serve as auditor, and because I insisted on having business methods adopted and was refused the co-operation, and was told to mind my own business and do as I was told to do or it would "go hard" with me..15b I declined to sign orders on the Treasurer for three accounts involving over eleven thousand dollars because no audit was made of the accounts and I was positive that there was no book-account to show the correctness of the statement.
Thus I incurred the displeasure of individuals that had a bearing on my not being wanted at the office. I am not impugning motives nor charging any with dishonesty, but simply advocating a set of books and proper supervision by Directors. My experience as auditor reveals that only one man knows anything about the accounts, and that man is not the President, or the Manager, or the Treasurer. It is my impression that the shareholders should investigate matters and insist that the Directors direct.
I also protest against the methods used in putting out of the Bethel Home over a score of faithful and willing sacrificing members for no other known reason than that such refused to sign, or signed under PROTEST, one of the several documents gotten up to swear allegiance "through thick and thin," and to endorse the terrorizing methods being employed at the Bethel Home and the Tabernacle. I very much regret that I was so weak as to have signed these documents; others acknowledge being similarly guilty. I signed the same under protest and so informed the person securing the names, as well as the Management. Having been invited to bring my family into Bethel by Brother Russell a few months before he was called Home, and being assigned by him to a privilege of service with instructions how to proceed, and each of us thoroughly loyal and faithful to our duties we, with several others, were ordered out of Bethel and are being deprived of any service, which we so deeply and sincerely love to render; and all because we voted our preference with those who preferred to have the Directors direct as provided by law, by Charter, and by the Will and last wishes of our dear Pastor. It was in fear of the dismissal from all these privileges for my dear family and myself, as I told the Management at the time, that I signed the letter which was printed with my name in "Harvest Siftings." Had I the slightest idea the letter was ever to be published I certainly would not have signed it, and I am at heart ashamed that I let "the fear of what man could do unto me" overshadow for the moment the precious promise, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
The threat has been executed and we were given forty-eight hours in which to leave. The Lord has been our helper and by His grace we count our blessed privilege of having been at Bethel for a season and our experiences as stepping-stones in our course towards the Heavenly Eternal Home, reserved for those who prove faithful through much persecution.
Faithfully submitted, F. G. MASON.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SHAREHOLDERS OF THE SOCIETY
Freehold, N. J., August 15th, 1917.
Messrs. Pierson, Ritchie, Wright, Hoskins and Hirsh,
Box 179, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Dear Brethren: You have invited me to write a statement of my connection in advising you as brethren and as Directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. I understand that you sought my assistance as a brother in the Truth who has some knowledge of the law, because I am a member of the legal profession. I have not, however, been your lawyer, as you have paid counsel, a very reputable firm of high class lawyers, to whom I introduced you.
I symbolized my consecration by water immersion at the Memorial season (March), 1905, in the presence of the Philadelphia Church, having become thoroughly interested and having accepted the Truth in 1903, this season being the first opportunity I had knowledge of to undergo baptism by the use of water. I have never missed the communion season of fellowship with the brethren at the Annual Memorial since that time. I made the Vow my own in (I think) 1908. I was recommended by the Trenton Ecclesia for the Auxiliary Pilgrim work, and did some slight work in this way. I was for years the senior Elder of the Trenton Ecclesia. I was a witness, who testified at the trial, for Brother Russell in his action against the Brooklyn Eagle, at the written request of Brother Rutherford.
Since moving to Freehold I have had the privilege of testifying in Court here before our fellow citizens concerning the doctrines which we believe, to our consequent disfavor in the town. Since living here in Freehold I did the legal work for the company which was incorporated to take care of the Gazette which Brother Woodworth invented. Brother Rutherford, with Brothers Pierson, Ritchie and Woodworth, spent the day here in Freehold in that matter. I have answered the V. D. M. Questions and was notified in writing by the Society that I had passed the required 85 per cent. I am delivering discourses here regularly on Sundays to the consecrated able to attend and to others. I mention these matters (and might recite many more) in order that the friends will understand that the lawyer whom Brother Rutherford says he knew and to whom he telegraphed from Duluth, Minn., is a brother in the Truth.
Brother Rutherford states on page one of his "Harvest Siftings" that you consulted a lawyer who is "not too friendly toward the Truth." This statement is untrue and I wrote him that his statements concerning me in his pamphlet were false, and that he is experienced enough to know that that is not the proper way to reply to proper criticisms of his legal attitude. He has replied saying: "You probably have forgotten that you wrote a letter to Brother Hoskins, dated July 4th, in which you made a statement to the effect that ĎRutherfordís statement might look plausible, but it would be well for you to have statements from various ones of the large contributors to the Tract Fund showing that they are back of you, and present these to Rutherford and bring pressure to bear on him to heed what you say.í The presumption is that you have a copy of this letter. Suppose you look it over and see if there is not a statement in there to that effect, and if so could they have obtained such statements without stating their side to the shareholders. Their evident purpose was to do this very thing when they appeared before the Philadelphia congregation on Sunday night, July 15th, and made derogatory statements with the evident purpose of creating sentiment to bring pressure to bear upon the officers of the Society mentioned."
I wrote no such statement to Brother Hoskins on July 4th, nor at any time, nor to anyone else. What did happen in this particular was as follows: On July 3d, 1917, I wrote to Brother Hoskins, replying to a letter from him dated the previous day. I wrote as follows: "You submit to me several questions. I am unable to answer your question suggesting that the President of the Society with others may be engaged in endeavoring in the meantime (that is, while away from Brooklyn) to prevail upon shareholders of the Society to request the members of the Board of Directors to refrain from passing the resolution in question on the adjourned date. An informal representation of that kind made in that way would in my opinion not be legally binding, although it might have its moral effect."
So, then, we see that Brother Rutherford was misinformed as to this matter by someone. I think, however, that it is proper for you to notify the shareholders of the Society that you have been ousted from control of the Society and by illegal means, as you have been advised, and to state to them the attendant circumstances, as you are now doing. I did advise you that you should make known to the shareholders of the Society that either they themselves should vote or else give the proxies to some one from the home class to vote for them, so as to prevent any one or any group from gaining and holding control of the Society.
In conclusion as to Brother Rutherfordís statement concerning me in his circular, I wish to say that that was a matter properly within the rule of procedure laid down in Matthew 18, whereas the management of the Societyís affairs is a legal matter and the conduct of the Society by its Directors is a proper subject for communication to the shareholders of the Society, who are its true owners.
The first member of the Board of Directors to call to see me about the affairs of the Society was Brother Ritchie. He said that Brother Russell was interested in the Angelophone, and that Brother Russell had thought it a good help to the spiritually minded, both those in the Truth and the older class of Christians not yet interested in Present Truth. Brother Ritchie said that there was a disposition at headquarters to do away with the Angelophone and that as Brother Russell had thought so much of it he wished to have that feature of the work continued, if he could properly arrange it. He brought no written data with him showing how the matter stood legally, but I gave him such assistance for his personal guidance as I could, and he went away. I doubt if he received much help from me and that is all I know about that matter. I marveled at Brother Ritchieís self-control and successful effort not to talk about any brethren, and as I recall it he made mention of no names in stating who opposed the continuance of the Angelophone. He did say that he was afraid that ultimately trouble would break out, because of the way affairs were being conducted at Brooklyn.
Some weeks later Brother Hoskins called to see me. He stated that he would like to know if the Directors of the Society have power to pass by-laws repealing or altering by-laws passed by the shareholders, if found advisable in the opinion of members of.16b the Board, for the best interests of the Society. I replied, "Let us examine the statute of Pennsylvania on the subject of corporations and see what that says." We examined the statute as it was worded when the Society was organized and as it is worded now. We found that it provided that the by-laws should be made by the shareholders unless the charter provided some other body or some other method. I told him then or later that in New York or New Jersey the statutes provided that if the power to make by-laws was delegated to the directors that nevertheless that power still remained in the shareholders, but that the Pennsylvania statute did not reserve that right to the shareholders. I told him that the Directors, who by the Charter of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society were given the power to make by-laws and ordinances, had the power if they thought those suggested by the shareholders at Pittsburgh last January were harmful to the best interests of the work; that they could alter them by passing new by-laws and new ordinances, as they saw proper. I also called his attention at that time to the statutory requirement that the Directors should be chosen by the shareholders annually and that the provision in the charter that they should hold for life unless removed by a two-thirds vote of the shareholders seemed to me to be in excess of the power conferred by law. He called my attention to the fact that the Judge of the Court had twice passed upon it as legal and I then or later told him that, at any rate, the Directors continue to hold over legally until their successors are chosen by the shareholders and qualified. I said to him, at the time of his call, while examining the law and decisions, that if he desired a thorough-going opinion he would better employ counsel to look into the matter thoroughly. I said to him that the advice I had given him had been given without my knowing which way he personally viewed the matter or what he wished to accomplish or prevent. He answered, "No, Brother McGee, I have not told you."
I learned then or at our next interview that the majority of the Board of Directors, which body I will hereinafter refer to as "the Directors," did not approve of the way in which the Societyís affairs under the present management, were being conducted, and that was due to some extent to the authority being exercised by Brother MacMillan. I personally expressed my own thought that my idea of Brother MacMillan was that he did not seem to possess sufficient mental balance and sound intellectual equipoise- in other words, wisdom-to fit him for such a difficult and responsible position. Brother Hoskins then went back to Brooklyn.
Exactly at this point in the proceedings I asked myself as to what would be the proper course for me to pursue if further called upon in the matter. I decided that if any brother called upon me to know the legal right of a matter for his own personal guidance that it would be perfectly proper for me to tell him if I could do so, even and especially if I did not know his own personal feelings and wishes in the matter. I also decided further that as the Directors were the lawful managers of the Society-the managing partners or trustees, if you will, for the owners, the shareholders-that in helping the Board I would be assisting the duly constituted authority in the Society and that I could not properly do anything else without opposing those providentially provided to supervise affairs, including the acts of the Executive officers, who are by law the agents of the Directors .
I understand that at the Directorsí meeting of June twentieth last it was intimated or suggested to Brother Rutherford that there should be some adequate by-laws passed by the Directors for the conduct of the Society. (As far as I know or as far as "the Directors" knew, there were none except the very incomplete ones passed at Pittsburgh by the shareholders at Brother Rutherfordís insistence, which were drawn by him before he was elected President and which were causing the trouble.) Brother Rutherford put the Directors off at that time, and as he states in his "Harvest Siftings" (page 12, col. 2, par. 1,) the meeting of the Board was adjourned until July 20. He then went away on a trip. Others also went away on trips.
Shortly afterwards I received a telephone message from Brother Hoskins saying that there had been some trouble at the Tabernacle and asking me to come over that evening. I did so, arriving at the Bethel about 9 P. M. I was, thereupon, escorted to an apartment nearby, where I met with Brothers Wright, Ritchie, Hirsh and Hoskins, composing the majority of the Board of Directors.
It developed that previously a set of rules had been promulgated by Brother Rutherford as President of the Peoples Pulpit Association, to which all the Bethel family had, in all innocence, agreed spontaneously, including the Directors, to the effect that all folks, except officers or committees, not employed at the Tabernacle should not be permitted there during working hours. On this particular day, during Brother Rutherfordís absence, somehow the Directors were informed that talk was rife that none of them were to be allowed at the Tabernacle. These four brethren, Messrs. Ritchie, Wright, Hoskins and Hirsh, whose work had been so arranged as to require them all at Bethel and not at the Tabernacle, were amazed, as they had never thought, they say, that the rules were intended to be binding upon the Societyís Trustees, who are legally officers of the Society, and especially two of them who were also Directors of the Peoples Pulpit Association. They thereupon concluded to call upon Brother Martin at the Tabernacle and inquire as to the full import of the edict which had gone forth. They had no other motive except to learn the situation.
When the four Directors (two also Directors in the Peoples Pulpit Assín) inquired of Brother Martin, Brother MacMillan came forward and ordered the four out of the place (including his fellow Directors in the Peoples Pulpit Assín). They declined to go.
Brother Rutherford states in his "Harvest Siftings" that Brother Hirsh shook his fist at Brother MacMillan. Brother Hirsh denies this, saying he shook his finger at Brother MacMillan, in which denial the other Directors corroborate him.
Brother MacMillan thereupon sent Brother Martin for a policeman. Brother Martin said he would obey orders. When the officer came he refused to remove the Directors, saying he knew he had no right to do so. The Directors at that time were upstairs by themselves, in the Chapel, annoying no one. At the Bethel on July 17th Brother MacMillan said he did as he had, because these Directors were disturbing the work; later forgetting for the moment his previous statement, he said that some of the workers there did not even know they were present. These Directors shortly afterward left the Tabernacle.
I found at this night conference that the Directors had no desire to deprive Brother Rutherford as President of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of any of his rightful prerogatives, but that they knew nothing of the affairs of the Society or about its funds and had no proper supervision of them. They considered that both Brothers Rutherford and MacMillan were running affairs with a high hand. They said that any time they attempted to discuss any matter of importance with the President he was accustomed to inform them that they were not lawyers and therefore not competent to pass on such matters. Brother Wright said that on one occasion shortly after Brother Russellís death he had spoken to the new President about some matters and that Brother Rutherford had then said to him, "Brother, those are matters which we should take up and discuss at length," but that Brother Rutherford did not do so later and became less and less inclined to do so. Brother Wright said also that in the early days of the Society when Brother Russell had the majority of the voting shares he did not then give so much attention to the Directors, as he by his own votes controlled the Societyís affairs, but that later when he no longer held the majority in voting shares Brother Russell paid more attention to the Directors. Brother Russell also said and wrote that the Directors would come to the front in case of his death.
I was informed that night that Brother Russell (it was rumored) had left a very large sum of money in cash, which was subject to return to the friends who had donated it on their call, should they be in need of it. The Directors had no further knowledge of how this fund had been safeguarded. I told them that it was their duty to know about it, as they were personally responsible if.17b negligent in the care of the funds of the Society, especially of this trust fund, which was subject to repayment. At this meeting they informed me that they had been told that as all the work in New York was done by the Peoples Pulpit Association they could do nothing anyway, presumably because the Directorate of the Peoples Pulpit Association was controlled by Brother Rutherford through its Directors by a majority of one member, that majority being made up of Brothers Rutherford, MacMillan, Van Amburgh and Hudgings.
I told them that as the Peoples Pulpit Association received all its funds from the Society in carrying out the work, they could easily exercise control of the Association if the Association attempted to take the duly constituted authority of the Society, and consequently the Society itself by the throat, by stopping temporarily or limiting the supply of money flowing from the Society to the Peoples Pulpit Association. I then told them that they had legal authority, and the moral right as well, to pass a resolution directing the banks not to honor checks, either for withdrawal or deposit, without the signature of some additional Director with that of the Treasurer. In other words, that while they should not attempt to deprive Brother Van Amburgh of the control as Treasurer of the Societyís funds, they could limit his sole control by requiring an additional signature to his in financial transactions. I advised them further that they ought to have proper by-laws to regulate the Societyís affairs and to regulate the activities of the executive officers and keep them within reasonable bounds. I further said that the statute of Pennsylvania required the Society to pass certain by-laws or ordinances and that they had apparently failed to do this. I told them that there also might be such a thing as criminal neglect of the Societyís funds. I told them that the banks would in all probability comply with their notification without much trouble.
The next day after this conference Brother Rutherford telegraphed me from Duluth, Minn., to the following effect: If you are advising Hirsh or others please, for the sake of the cause, advise them to await my return about July 18, when matters will be properly adjusted. Because of this telegram, in all fairness I suggested that they wait, and all agreed to await his return. And so no determinate action was taken in his absence. Incidentally it might be remarked that if Brother Rutherford had really thought I was "not any too friendly to the Truth" he would not have asked me to advise them "for the sake of the cause."
The Directors were advised that something startling was being devised in Brother Rutherfordís absence, which was termed a bomb, which was to be exploded upon his return from the West-this in spite of his telegram that matters would be properly adjusted upon his return about the 18th.
The brethren asked what he could do, as they had heard he thought of working the affairs through some rival Society altogether.
I told them that they were the duly recognized authority entitled to control affairs and I did not see how he could do anything very serious when they were acting lawfully. I could hardly believe that the friends would prefer to allow Brother Rutherford to act illegally and disregard the law, acting as if the opinion of a lawyer was the judgment of a Court, and would stand by and see him oust their rightful representatives from the proper supervision and control of their affairs. I had already advised them that only the shareholders could amend the Charter of the Society.
After Brother Rutherford returned from the West I received, at Trenton on July 17, a telephone message during the forenoon from Brother Hoskins saying that the President, Brother Rutherford, had called a meeting of the Peoples Pulpit Association for 8 A. M. that morning and had notified the Directors of the Society-Pierson, Hirsh, Ritchie, Wright and Hoskins-that there would be a Directorsí meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society at 9 A. M. How Brother Rutherford could call Brothers Hirsh, Ritchie, Wright and Hoskins to a Directorsí meeting in Brooklyn on July 17, when previously on July 12 at Pittsburgh he had secretly appointed Brothers Spill, Bohnet, Fisher and MacMillan as members of the Board in their places, I cannot understand. In other words, on July 17, in Brooklyn, he called brethren to a Directorsí meeting whom he had previously displaced, when there were other brethren whom he claimed were members by his own appointment, as of July 12 at Pittsburgh.
He further called the meeting of the Board of Directors and also of the spurious board in Brooklyn, where he said it could not be held.
Brother Hoskins informed me over the telephone that Brother Rutherford had announced at the breakfast table at Bethel that he hoped all would be present at the noon meal, as he expected "a strenuous day." The Directors wished me to come over and be at the table. I complied with their request. Brother Rutherford said at the conclusion of the meal that he had some announcements to make which would, he trusted, make every one happy. I thought he had made up his mind to get together with the Directors, and that all trouble was done away with. He had an opinion read from a Philadelphia lawyer, holding that the four brethren- Hirsh, Hoskins, Wright and Ritchie-were not on the Board of Directors. In fact, the gist of the matter was that the only legal Directors were the President, Vice-President and Treasurer, who had been elected as such at Allegheny. The New York lawyers of the Directors later advised them that according to the New York Court of Appeals such an election to office did not of itself constitute them members of the Board of Directors, and at any rate it followed as a matter of sequence that in January last (if Brother Rutherford and his Philadelphia lawyer are correct) Brother Rutherford was not a Director at the time he was elected President and he was not qualified, therefore, to hold the office of President, so his present title to the office would be invalid. On the other hand, if the Directors were rightfully so as "holdovers," then they are so still, and others cannot fill their places until the shareholders do so at the next meeting. Brother Rutherford announced that he had appointed these other brethren to the so-called vacant posts of Directorship. He also announced that the seventh volume was ready for distribution. He said further that it had not been intended to distribute it so soon, but knowing of the trouble brewing they had hurried up the putting of it out.
In other words, he knew the trouble was to be precipitated of his own motion on that day. He invited all hands there to receive the seventh volume, knowing full well that at that time he intended to announce that he had taken the law into his own hands, an unlawful thing to do, and that he intended to oust the rightful and duly constituted authorities from their lawful place. Of course, protests were made against this surprisingly wilful course. I advised the spurious members not to accept the places offered them, and Brother Pierson says he asked Brother Rutherford to go along with the proper Board of Directors which he had himself always recognized and met with. Brother Rutherford instead labored with Brother Pierson, the latter says, for several hours and finally induced him unwillingly to sign resolutions to the effect that no other than Brother Rutherford in the church is so well qualified as he is to do this work; or could have received at the Lordís hand greater evidences of His love and favor. Brother Pierson afterwards concluded he was in error in signing the resolutions and decided, in writing, to stand by the old Board.
The Pennsylvania Courts have held that the Directors shall elect (as the statute provides) Directors to fill vacancies until the next shareholdersí election for Directors in the manner provided in the Charter and by-laws, and have said that Directors may not declare other Directorsí offices vacant and then fill the vacancies. If that be so, it is clear that the President of the Society may not do what the Directors may not do, if for no other reasons than that there would be no expiration of the required thirty days in which the Directors must first elect to fill vacancies and because the statute requires the Directors to fill vacancies (in the manner provided by the Society), and it is doubtful if the President may at any time appoint Directors to fill vacancies. He certainly cannot do that which the law forbids Directors to do. Nothing but the judgment of a Court could declare the offices vacant.
The fact that Brother Rutherford recognized Brothers Hirsh, Hoskins, Wright and Ritchie as valid Board members by acting with them as Directors and meeting with them continuously in New York, places him in a very bad position in now repudiating them. I think a Court of Equity would say to him that "He who asks Equity must do Equity," and that "He who comes into a Court of Equity must come with Ďclean handsí!" However that may be, you have advice of competent counsel on this subject.
Legal counsel was employed in New York during Brother Rutherfordís absence in the West solely for the purpose of enabling the Directors to do their simple duty and to pass such by-laws as would accomplish this object. The very incomplete and meager by-laws drafted at Pittsburgh necessarily needed to be largely added to, not merely amended. The lawyers were not consulted for the purpose of going to law, but for the purpose of taking advice as to how to properly regulate the affairs of the Society.
The President ascribes these seemingly unfortunate and distressing affairs to the Evil One and attempts to make parallel the actions of Brother Johnson in Europe with those of the Directors here. The parallel, if there is any, it seems to us, is more pointedly applicable in another way.
Brother Johnson in his illness, enlarging upon the false "sweeping authority," or as he called it, "plenipotentiary powers," conferred upon him by Brother Rutherford to obtain his passport, became erroneously (we believe) convinced that he was the steward in the parable of the penny and acted as he thought in accordance with his interpretation of it. In this country, at the Boston Convention, Brother Woodworth spoke publicly of the President as the steward and since has published personally his exposition. He requests the friends therein to write to Brother Rutherford to put his exposition of the parable in "The Watch Tower," because Brother Rutherford refused to allow it to go in the Tower, inferentially through modesty on his part, and not through any doubt of the application of the parable to himself personally. He seems to try to make the same application of it as does Brother Woodworth because he speaks of murmuring against the seventh volume as the penny of the parable, which Brother Woodward says he, as the steward, has dispensed. Whoever may be the steward of the parable and whatever may be the penny, the volume claims itself to be the posthumous work of Brother Russell as his last bequest to the church and not the dispensation of our new President. The parallel, however, to us is that the one who is said to be the steward here, and who seems to acquiesce in that application, is doing the "casting out" of the brethren in this country and endeavoring to and succeeding in upsetting the duly constituted authority of the Society under the law and therefore the parallel attempted to be made in the "Siftings" pamphlet is not a parallel at all.
In conclusion, then, the friends will necessarily need to decide two important questions before taking up the other differences: First, who is the rightful authority in the Society?
It is well to remember Brother Piersonís suggestion to Brother Rutherford in this connection, that if the title of the members of the Board is invalid, surely it has gone on this way so long that He could easily wait until the next shareholdersí meeting to make the Board a legal one beyond all question. Brother Rutherford well knows that the Directors are the duly constituted authority in the Society, and that they have a right and duty to inform themselves by such inspection of its affairs as they see fit. If this were not so, he would not so hastily have tried to get rid of the Directors. So, then, we see that the Directors are the managers of the Society to supervise and generally direct its affairs and correct abuses in the interest of the shareholders.
The second question for the friends to decide is as to who is ambitious in a wrong sense.
Every one in the Society has ability enough to understand that one is not sinfully ambitious who desires to do that which is pleasing to God and to serve the shareholders of the Society. To desire to do oneís plain duty is hardly more than commendable.
On the other hand, to overthrow rightful authority over oneself, and to take the law into oneís own hand, to thwart those having the rightful rule over one, is, I submit, a wrong and wilful course and contrary to the Divine Word. It seems to me that the friends, even if they cannot understand legal difficulties, can understand and decide the matter along the lines of common honesty.
Brother Rutherford, because he is a lawyer, and as such was peculiarly useful to Brother Russell, and because he is a good speaker, became the most prominent candidate for the Presidency. The friends did not know that they could have elected a new Board of Directors and could then have elected a President and Treasurer from the new Directors. Brother Rutherford knew, but did not tell them. He states in his "Harvest Siftings" that he did not wish to disturb the friends. Brother Rutherford was not, I think, elected especially because he was more meek and lowly than others. Moses was the meekest man in all the earth, and the Saviour was meek and lowly, and yet neither of them were supine; both excelled in the matter of firmness and character. I believe, then, that whatever murmuring was done on July 17 was done by Brother Rutherford and those associated with him. He also acted on top of his murmuring, and so placed the option as to whether the Directors should go to law upon them. Had they exercised their lawful rights they would now be in authority and in control of affairs, and Brother Rutherford would not have been injured either.
Brother Rutherford says in his "Harvest Siftings" that (see page 8, 2d col., par. 1; also page 22, 2d col. under 2d part): "It was the unanimous consent of all present that Brother Johnson was of unsound mind." Those present included the Board of Directors. If such was the case, how foolish, then, to quote the statements of a man whom all agreed was mentally ill, as authoritative as to the motives or objects sought to be attained. These brethren have assured me that the Johnson case is a mere incident and they all know that I would have had nothing to do with the matter in case this was merely an attempt to further his thoughts and doings when he was ill or since then. Had Brother Rutherford not stated that Brother Johnson had sweeping powers, to obtain his passport, and had not so written to England to avoid the censorís criticisms, Brother Johnson either would not have gotten as far as he did when in England, or else would have remained at home and his trouble would have been avoided. The harm in the first instance was due to the untruthful statements to the authorities to get the passports, statements which Brother Russell would not have made, and Brother Johnson would have remained at home.
Brother Rutherford, in several places, criticises the four members of the Board of Directors as not attending to their work while occupying their time in this matter; treating them merely as clerks and subordinates, forgetting that the more important part of their work is as supervising officers of the Society.
He said in his "Harvest Siftings" (page 10, col. 2, par. 4) that the work of the Society peculiarly requires the direction of one mind. This is then the crux of the difficulty. He says he is that one mind. The law, the Charter and Brother Russell have provided to the contrary. Of course, the arrangement as to detail work must be properly conducted as in any large multifarious concern; but if the shareholders are to have no proper check on the acts of the executive officers, how are they to know what is being done with the Lordís affairs?
Does not apply to the Society† †( Letter Continued...)
If the majority of the spurious Board now acting are away from Brooklyn, living elsewhere, and it is true (which I doubt seriously) that the Directors may not meet outside of Pennsylvania (though the statute permits directors where a majority live out of the state to meet outside, and though the statute requiring at least three Directors to live in Pennsylvania , as Brother Rutherford says it does), yet how are the present spurious or future Boards to know anything about the Society if his arrangements are to be followed.
Is it not a fact, then, that in less than a year after our Pastorís death, we see our Society seized away from those lawfully and divinely constituted its rightful managers for the shareholders?
It may be possible, perhaps, to elect a new Board of Directors next January at the regular meeting and adjourn for a long enough time to allow for proper consideration of the various candidates and elect or re-elect the proper ones. I hope so. The shareholders should send some one to the meeting to vote their proxies and not send them to headquarters. They should not vote without knowing what they are doing. They should regard it as a Godgiven responsibility.
Great responsibility, moral and legal, rests upon the Directors of the Society, who are by law and the Charter the managers of the Society. The President and other officers are agents of the Board, who are the Trustees for the Society. The law is settled-that the Directors must exercise ordinary care and prudence in the trusts committed to them, the same degree of care and prudence that men prompted by self-interest generally exercise in their own affairs. When one voluntarily takes the position of Trustee or Director of a corporation, good faith, exact justice and public policy unite in requiring of him just such a degree of care and prudence, and it is a gross breach of duty not to bestow it.
The members of the Board should attend at the appointed time for a meeting. A member alone, it is true, cannot pass a valid resolution, but he can require and gain all the information that could be had were a quorum present; nor is a member excused because the President informs him that there will be no quorum. If there is an executive committee the Directors are not excused from liability because they commit their duties to the executive committee.
We see, therefore, that the shareholders should exercise care and that the Directors should be well chosen, and that there should be time to make a proper selection of officers from the new Board of Directors, whoever they may be.
Thanking you for your attention to this matter,
I am Your fellow-servant, FRANCIS H. McGEE
A WORD IN CONCLUSION †
We trust that it is clearly seen by all that the protests which the Board of Directors have made are not those of self-defense, for as we have repeatedly said, we would gladly forego and sacrifice all our personal rights and suffer them to be taken from us; but there is far more than our own personal rights involved, for membership in the Board of Directors represents a stewardship of the friends of the Truth everywhere, who have placed their money, their property and their confidence in the Society. Therefore, for the Board of Directors to allow ambitious men to usurp the power and function of their offices, without protest, would mean to prove themselves unfaithful stewards-unfaithful to the trust reposed in them by the Lordís people.
When in a previous circular which many of you received we intimated that the matter might be allowed to go into litigation for settlement, we were leaning in the direction of advice received from some prominent brethren who had placed their money in the Society with the understanding that it would be used in harmony with the Charter of the Society and in harmony with the Will of Brother Russell, and these brethren urged that St. Paulís admonition about going to law (1 Corinthians 6) did not apply in this case; that as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was a business corporation based upon the rules and laws of earthly courts it would be entirely proper to allow this matter to go into court for settlement, even as St. Paul appealed to Caesar in defense of his stewardship; and especially as Brother Rutherford had emphatically stated that he would not be moved from his present position, no matter how many resolutions of protest should come to him from Classes all over the country.
However, since many of the friends have now written us of their wishes in the matter, advising against court proceedings, we are taking it as the Lordís will that He does not at present, at least, wish it settled in that manner.
It is proper to note here that since "Harvest Siftings" has gone to all the friends and shareholders, the President and his associates have been making special efforts to line up the friends in all parts of the country, and some of the Classes, supposing that there was only one side to this case, have written in support of the President and his course. We believe that after reading these pages they will recognize that they have been premature in their action and will be led to a reconsideration of the matter.
With this statement of facts to the shareholders, we wish to rest the entire matter and leave the shareholders to indicate whether or not they wish to support the present administration in its continual perversion of the traditions, usages and customs of our Society.
And now, dear brethren, what shall be done? You will individually, of course, do as you think best. We think it will be a great mistake to leave matters as they are. We advise, therefore, that all who have one or more shares in the Society write a personal request to the President-a short note, the shorter, the better-requesting the President to recede from his unlawful position, dismiss the unlawfully constituted Board members, take steps to correct his error in respect to the expulsion of members from the Peoples Pulpit Association, and otherwise to set himself straight with the Society. We predict very much more trouble for the Society and its members if such steps are not taken.
Further, we advise that if you have been solicited, or shall be solicited for your votes looking to any future change in the Society, that you be careful not to allow your votes to be cast for that which you do not understand. Proxies which bore instructions to be voted for certain ones at the last election were wholly disregarded in some cases, and word was passed around that no one is lawfully bound to vote a proxy as instructed. It will now be advisable for the friends everywhere to either attend the shareholdersí meeting personally or else send a delegate from their local classes, or at least from a county gathering.
You will understand the Societyís affairs much better by the time the next election comes than you ever have before. Meanwhile, let us all trust in the Lord and do good unto all as we have opportunity and especially to the household of faith.
Think not, dear brethren, that our hearts are bitter toward any of those whose names we have freely used through these pages, and of whom we have found it necessary to tell some plain truths. We realize that it is a time for all to keep themselves in the love of God, and to watch and to keep their garments white. We know that no matter how great the injustice and the wrong received at the hands of our brethren, even expulsion from the Bethel Home, and to have our names "cast out as evil"-these are nothing to compare with what was suffered by our illustrious Head and Forerunner, of whom it was written that He was "despised and rejected of men."
We regret indeed that our troubles here are causing sorrow to you all. Would that this might have been averted, and you might have been spared the pain. But our Heavenly Father knows what we have need of and what to permit in the way of trial to crystallize the character that has been forming through the years. We have been praying that the Lord would send whatever experiences are best for us, and now, this has come. Godís will be done..20b Our prayer shall be, however, that if it is Godís will to continue the work of the Harvest in the simplicity and purity, in which it has for forty years been conducted under Brother Russell, you may be helped and guided by the Master of the Harvest to come to the front in the support, defense and preservation of the ideals, the principles and the memory of our beloved Pastor, until the Harvest be closed and His saints are gathered Home-to be forever with the Lord.
A PHILADELPHIA CHURCH LETTER †
We quote below a forceful and interesting letter addressed to Brother Rutherford by the Philadelphia Church. The friends at Philadelphia called both sides of this controversy to their City one evening and for four hours heard the subject discussed from both viewpoints. This is the only Ecclesia that has heard the matter fairly set forth. A copy of their letter was sent to each member of the Board. This letter, therefore, speaks for itself.
Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 5, 1917.
Brother J. F. Rutherford, 122 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Dear Brother Rutherford: The Philadelphia Ecclesia, duly assembled and having carefully considered the impending crisis threatening to disrupt the organization of the Lordís people, has decided by the Lordís assisting grace to suspend judgment in the case of any of our brethren, prefering to leave personal judgment in the hands of the Lord, our Master; but Inasmuch as we are advised in no mistakable terms that the case is about to be appealed to the common law [this thought has now been abandoned], we hereby urge upon your attention our final appeal that you take immediate steps toward the calling of a special meeting of the stockholders of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society to be held at as early a date as possible.
Neglect to call such a meeting will probably lose for you the support of the Philadelphia Church and many of the Lordís people scattered abroad, besides incidentally proving to be the cause of the case being thrown into the hands of the unconsecrated, perhaps bringing about an injunction against the present management of the Society, if not indeed the temporary suspending of the work altogether.
If you believe your course of action to be right, you will undoubtedly be glad for the approval and support of the only earthly body to whom you are ultimately accountable; furthermore the Philadelphia Ecclesia has confidence in your expressed desire to faithfully serve the Lordís cause and to this end we urge upon you immediate action in the calling of the special meeting above mentioned.
In the Masterís service, Philadelphia Ecclesia
THE CHARTER-THE FOUNDATION OF OUR SOCIETY †
We take pleasure, as previously stated, in printing below the Charter of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Upon the basis of this document our Beloved Pastor conducted the Harvest Work for 34 years. More than 50,000 persons received Present Truth during this time and perhaps thousands of others were led from darkness into measurable light. Such blessings have never come to so many of Godís saints in the same length of time as have come since the Societyís charter was issued.
This Charter bears the endorsement, as required by the Laws of Pennsylvania, of an Associate Judge of the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, certifying that it is "lawful," and that the incorporators were entitled to form a corporation "for the purposes and upon the terms therein stated." The validity of this charter was again confirmed in 1896 by the Pennsylvania Court, when it approved the petition of Brother Russell, asking that the name of the society be changed from Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society to its present name.
Since Brother Russellís death, Brother Rutherford has for the first time declared that this form of government by Directors who are to hold office for life, unless removed by two thirds vote of the shareholders, is illegal under the Laws of the State of Pennsylvania, and that Directors can lawfully hold office only for one year. He has also for the first time declared that under the Laws of the State of Pennsylvania at least three of the Directors must be residents of that state.
We are advised by our counsel that the claims of Brother Rutherford in these respects are entirely without warrant; that we are lawfully Directors of the Society; that those whom Brother Rutherford has undertaken to appoint in our places have no title to office; and that if the claims of Brother Rutherford were sound in law, he himself could have no legal title to office either as a Director or as President.
The following is a copy of the Societyís Charter: CHARTER OF THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY- WITH IMPORTANT NOTES APPENDED Be it known, That the subscribers, having associated themselves together for the purpose of the dissemination of Bible Truths in various languages, and being desirous of becoming incorporated agreeably to the provisions of the Act of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, entitled "An Act to Provide for the Incorporation and Regulation of certain Corporations," approved the Twenty-ninth day of April, Anno Domini, one thousand and eight hundred and seventy-four, and its supplements, do hereby declare, set forth and certify that the following are the purposes, objects, articles and conditions of their said association for and upon which they desire to be incorporated: 1. The name of the Corporation shall be Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society.
2. The purpose for which the Corporation is formed is the dissemination of Bible Truths in various languages by means of the publication of tracts, pamphlets, papers and other religious documents, and by the use of all other lawful means which its BOARD OF DIRECTORS, duly constituted, shall deem expedient for the furtherance of the purposes stated.
3. The place where the business of the said Corporation is to be transacted is the City of Allegheny, in the County of Allegheny, and State of Pennsylvania.
4. The Corporation is to exist perpetually.
5. The names and residences of the subscribers are as follows: (Names omitted).
The Corporation has no capital stock. Each donation of Ten Dollars to the funds of said Corporation shall entitle the contributor, or his assigns, to one non-forfeitable, non-assessable and non-dividend bearing share, and to one vote for every such share in said Corporation. Certificates of membership, so acquired, shall be issued by the Secretary, countersigned by the President, to the persons entitled thereto.
6. The Corporation is to be MANAGED BY A BOARD OF DIRECTORS consisting of seven members, and the names and residences of those already chosen Directors are as follows:.21b Those serving at the Present time  are: Joseph F. Rutherford J. D. Wright A. N. Pierson A. I. Ritchie W. E. Van Amburgh R. H. Hirsh Isaac F. Hoskins 7. The said Corporation, by its Board at Directors , a majority of whom shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, shall have full power and authority to make and enact by-laws, rules and ordinances , which shall be deemed and taken to be the law of said Corporation, and do any and everything useful for the good government and support of the affairs of said Corporation ; provided that the said by-laws, rules and ordinances, or any of them, shall not be repugnant to this charter, to the constitution and laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and to the Constitution of the United States.
8. The said Corporation shall have as officers a President, who shall preside at the meeting of the Board of Directors, a Vice-President, who shall preside in the absence of the President, and a Secretary, who shall also be Treasurer; and these officers shall be chosen from among the members of the Board of Directors annually on the first Saturday of each year, by an election by ballot to be held at the principal office of the Corporation in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. The members of the Board of Directors shall hold their respective offices for life, unless removed by a two-thirds vote of the shareholders, and vacancies in the Board occasioned by death, resignation or removal, shall be filled by vote of the majority of the remaining members of the Board, who shall meet for that purpose within twenty days from the time when such vacancy, or vacancies, shall occur, and in the event of a failure to fill such vacancy or vacancies, in the manner aforesaid, within thirty days from the time when such vacancy, or vacancies, shall occur, then the said vacancy, or vacancies, shall be filled by the appointment of the President, and the person, or persons, so appointed shall hold his, or their, office, or offices, until the next annual election of officers of the Corporation, when such vacancy, or vacancies, shall be filled by election, in the same manner as the President, Vice-President, and Secretary and Treasurer are elected.
The persons entitled to vote at annual elections of the Corporation shall be those who hold certificates of membership acquired in the manner aforesaid.
9. The said Corporation, under the name, style and title aforesaid, shall have full power and authority to make, have and use a common seal, with such device and inscription as they may deem proper, and the same to alter and renew at their pleasure; and by the name, style and title aforesaid, shall be able in law and equity to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded in any Court or Courts, before any Judge or Justice of the Peace, in all manner of suits and complaints, pleas, causes, matters and demands whatsoever, and all and every matter or thing therein to do in as full and complete a manner, and as effectually, as any other person, or persons, bodies politic or corporate within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, may or can do.
10. The said Corporation, by the name, style and title aforesaid, shall have the right, power and authority to take, receive and hold in fee simple, or any less estate, all such messages, lots, lands, buildings, tenements, rents, annuities, franchises and hereditaments as may be necessary and proper for its purposes; and to sell, lease, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of the same or any part thereof; and it shall have the same right, power and authority to take, receive and hold, and to sell, lease or dispose of any and all kinds of personal property and money.
Witness our hands and seals this 12th day of November A. D. 1884: (Seven names follow.) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania} County of Allegheny} ss.
Before me, the subscriber, Recorder of Deeds of the County of Allegheny, personally appeared Charles T. Russell, Maria F.
Russell and Jos. F. Smith, three of the subscribers to the above and foregoing certificate of incorporation of the Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society, and in due form of law acknowledged the same to be their act and deed. Witness my hand and official seal this 12th day of November, A. D. 1884.
WM. H. GRAHAM (Official Seal) Recorder .
In the Court of Common Pleas, No. 1, of Allegheny County, September Term, 1884.
And now this 13th day of December, 1884, the within Charter and Certificate of Incorporation having been presented to me, a Law Judge of said County, accompanied by due proof of publication of the notice of this application as required by the Act of Assembly and rule of this Court in such case made and provided, I certify that I have examined and perused the said writing and have found the same to be in proper form and within the purposes named in the first class specified in Section Second of the Act.21c of General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, entitled, "An Act to provide for the Incorporation and Regulation of Certain Corporations" approved April 29th, 1874, and the supplements thereto, and the same appearing to be lawful and not injurious to the community, I do hereby on motion of Weir and Garrison, Attorneys for the within-named subscribers and their associates order and direct that the said Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society aforesaid be and the same is hereby approved, and that upon the recording of the same and upon this order the subscribers thereto and their associates shall be a Corporation by the name of Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society for the purposes and upon the terms therein stated.
F. H. COLLIER, Associate Judge , etc.
Common Pleas No. 1, Allegheny Co., Penna.
From the Record.
J. O. BROWN (Court Seal) Prothonotary.
Recorded Dec. 15th, 1884.
CHANGE OF TITLE OF THE SOCIETY. †
In re petition for change of name of} Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society} to} No. X September Term, 1896 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society} To the Honorable the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Allegheny County: The Petition of Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society respectfully represents: That it is an Association incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by the Court of Common Pleas No.
One (1) of said County, on the 13th day of December, 1884, for the purposes specified in Section Two (2) of its charter, which reads as follows: 2. The purposes for which the Corporation is formed is the dissemination of Bible Truths in various languages by means of the publication of tracts, pamphlets, papers, and other religious documents and by the use of all other lawful means which its Board of Directors, duly constituted, shall deem expedient for the furtherance of the purposes stated.
That said purpose is embraced within the Corporations of the first class, specified in Section Second, of an Act of the General Assembly of this Commonwealth, entitled, "An Act to Provide for the Incorporation and Regulation of Certain Corporations," approved the 29th day of April A. D. 1874.
That in pursuance of the provisions of the said Act of the General Assembly, the said Association is desirous of changing the name, style and title by which it was incorporated, and at a meeting of the said Corporation duly convened, the following changes in the name, style and title as set forth in said charter was duly adopted: That the name, style and title of said Corporation be changed from "Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society," to "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society."
In Witness whereof the said Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society has hereunto affixed its corporate seal, attached by its President and Secretary, this 8th day of August, A. D. 1896.
Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL (Corporate Seal) President .
John K. Ewing} County of Allegheny} ss.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania} Be it remembered that on the 11th day of August, 1896, before me, a Notary Public, in and for said County and State, personally came Charles T. Russell, President of said Corporation, and Maria F. Russell, Secretary of said Corporation, who, being duly affirmed, did say that they were personally present at the execution of the within petition and saw the common seal of said Corporation, Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society, affixed thereto, and that said seal is the common and corporate seal, and that the foregoing petition was signed, sealed and duly delivered by, on and for the act and deed of said Corporation, for the uses and purposes therein mentioned, and that their signatures thereto are in their own proper handwriting, and that the facts set forth in said petition are correct and true as they verily believe.
Charles T. RUSSELL, Maria F. Russell..22b Affirmed and subscribed before me, the day and year aforesaid.
Witness my hand and notarial seal, John K. Ewing (N. P. Seal) Notary Public.
INTERLOCUTORY DECREE. †
And now, to wit, August 24th, 1896, the foregoing petition for change of the name, style and title of the charter of Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society, having been duly presented to this Court, in order that the same might be deemed and taken to be part of the charter of the said Corporation, and it appearing that such change in the name, style and title of said Corporation is lawful and beneficial, and does not conflict with the requirements of the Act of the General Assembly of this Commonwealth, entitled, "An Act to provide for the Incorporation and Regulation of Certain Corporations," approved the 29th day of April, 1874, nor with the Constitution of this State, and proof having been produced to this Court, showing that notice of the foregoing application has been duly given to the Auditor General of the State of Pennsylvania, it is hereby ordered and decreed that notice of this application shall be given by publication in accordance with the statute in such case made and provided.
By the Court.
FINAL DECREE. †
And now, to wit, September 19th, 1896, the within petition for the change of name of the within designated Corporation having been presented to this Court, accompanied by due proof of publication of notice thereof, and no cause having been shown to the contrary, it is on motion of Charles W. Dahlinger, Esq., ordered and decreed that upon the recording of the same. that the name, style and title of "Zionís Watch Tower Tract Society" be changed to "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society," and said change shall be deemed and taken to be part of the Charter of said Corporation.
By the Court.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania} County of Allegheny} ss.
Recorded on this 22nd day of September, A. D. 1896, in the Recorderís Office of said County in Charter Book, Volume 22, page 415. Given under my hand and seal of the said office the day and year aforesaid.
(Signed) Geo. B. von Sornshorst, Recorder .
(Seal of the Recorderís Office, Allegheny County, Pa.)
STATEMENT BY BROTHER RUSSELL †
as set forth in the Booklet, "A Conspiracy Exposed and Harvest Siftings," April 25, 1894, In Respect to the Usefulness of the Board of Directors in the Event of His Death:The Society was formed in 1881 at the time of the free distribution of 1,400,000 copies of the pamphlet, "Food for Thinking Christians"-now out of print. It consisted of five of the Lordís children, and its affairs were entirely in my charge. Later, 1884, at the instance of the friends of the cause, who advised that matters be put upon a legal footing so that the work might not be interrupted in case of my sudden death, the Society applied for a Charter under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania, and received one dated December 13, 1884. ... The object in taking out a Charter is succinctly stated in The Watch Tower for January, 1891, page 16, as follows: "This is a business association merely. It was chartered as a Corporation by the State of Pennsylvania, and authorized to hold or dispose of property in its own name as though an individual. It has no creed or confession. ... In fact, the only objects in having the Corporation are: "First, to provide a channel or fund through which those who wish can employ their money talent, whether small or great, for better advantage for the spread of the Truth than if each interested one acted and published independently of the others.
Secondly, the Corporation was called for by reason of the uncertainty of the lives of those at present managing the fund. Some wrote that they were doing all that their present necessities permitted, but at their death desired to do more; and urged the necessity of a legal Corporation, as Brother and Sister Russell also might die, and they wanted their donations to go to the spread of the Truth. ... Having up to December 1, 1893, thirty-seven hundred and five (3,705) voting shares, out of a total of sixty-. 22c three hundred and eighty-three (6,383) voting shares, Sister Russell and myself, of course, elect the officers, and thus control the Society; and this was fully understood by the Directors from the first. Their usefulness, it was understood, would come to the front in the event of our death ."
Since the President and his associates have control of the lists of names, shareholders and subscribers, we are able to send this statement to only a limited number of the friends. However, we will be pleased to send it to any addresses of Truth friends you wish to send us, so long as the Lord may provide the funds. Address, P. O. BOX 179, Brooklyn, N. Y..
COPY OF OPEN LETTER TO BOSTON CONVENTIONERS †
After Brother Rutherfordís "Siftings" had been circulated at the Boston Convention, a number of friends who felt a great injustice had been done the majority of the Board of Directors of the Society, earnestly urged the printing of a brief statement of the facts, volunteering to pay the expense. Following is a copy of this statement: Boston, Mass., August 4,1917.
Beloved Brethren in the Lord: Our hearts have been grieved that a paper, "Brother Rutherfordís Harvest Siftings," should be circulated amongst you at this Convention in the name of our beloved Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, which contains so much of misrepresentation and evil speaking.
We will not attempt to reply in kind. We will not discuss personalities; nor return evil for evil; railing for railing; slander for slander. We will follow the inspired advice, "Recompense to no man evil for evil." The Lord is our judge. We willingly leave all to Him whom we earnestly endeavor to serve and please and to His own due time the clearing of our good name. We believe that the Lordís dear sheep will not be misled in this matter; that they will realize that this difficulty is in no sense a personal controversy.
RE BROTHER JOHNSON †
Brother Johnson is in no sense the cause of the controversy between the President on the one side and Brothers Pierson, Ritchie, Wright, Hoskins and Hirsh on the other side. The Presidentís treatment of Brother Johnson is only one of the circumstances in which we could not approve of Brother Rutherfordís course. Our contention is that Brother Johnson, in whom Brother Russell reposed great confidence and who has manifested much love and zeal for the Truth during the 14 years of his public service, during which he has travelled as a Pilgrim, paying all his own expenses except for one year, should be given a full and fair opportunity to present his case. At present he has been condemned without a trial, and to our personal knowledge shamefully misrepresented and treated.
SOME OF THE POINTS AT ISSUE †
SHALL BROTHER RUSSELLíS CHARTER SHALL BROTHER RUSSELLíS WILL AND TESTAMENT AND SHALL BROTHER RUSSELLíS BOARD OF DIRECTORS BE RECOGNIZED AND SUPPORTED BY THE FRIENDS, OR SHALL ALL THESE BE SET ASIDE AND DISREGARDED.
We believe that this should not be so. For your information we present below in parallel columns the fundamental differences which have arisen between the President and ourselves: BROTHER RUTHERFORD: 1. Believes one man (himself) can better manage the Societyís work than the Board of Directors; thus taking an exactly opposite view to Brother Russell on this subject.consisting of seven members."
THE BOARDíS VIEW: 1. We believe Brother Russellís plans for carrying on the Harvest Work after his death should be followed: "The corporation is to be managed by a Board of Directors (Extract from Societyís Charter, written by Brother Russell.) "It being understood that they (the Board of Directors), should come to the front in the event of my death." (Extract from booklet published by Brother Russell.) 2. Personally interprets resolutions passed by Shareholders universal interpretation of said on Jan. 6, 1917, at Pittsburgh, Pa., to give him practically absolute control of the Societyís finances and affairs in general. He has uniformly acted in harmony with this interpretation and never given the Board, during his term of office as President, a statement of the finances and other affairs of the Society, of which we are today still ignorant. It will be a matter of interest to you that Brother Rutherford himself wrote the By-Laws even before his election.
2. The Common Law or practically resolutions passed at Pittsburg Jan. 6, 1917, is that the President as "Executive and Manager" is subject to the Board of Directors, whose directions he is required to follow. The entire responsibility of the Corporation both to the Shareholders for the use of funds donated to the Society, and to the Business Public for the obligations of the Society, rests, not on the President alone, but upon the full Board of Directors. They cannot escape this responsibility..23b 3. Through his interpretation of certain technicalities of law, but positively contradicted by eminent counsel, he declares four of the undersigned illegally elected Directors (though himself served for years as a Director, elected exactly an they were), and assumes to appoint other brethren to take their places.
3. (a) Upon the best legal advice we can obtain, and concurred in by Attorney Brother McGee, assistant to the Attorney General of New Jersey, it appears that Brother Rutherfordís interpretation of these technicalities is erroneous, and we are still the legal Directors of the Society.
(b) We recognize a still higher law-Divine Justice-and a moral obligation to fulfil the trust reposed in us by the Lord and Brother Russell. Three of us having been elected under the direction of Brother Russell, served harmoniously with him on the Board for years, and whose wish it was that we continue to serve as Directors during our life time, unless removed by a two-thirds vote of the Shareholders. Extract from Charter, "The Directors shall hold their respective respective offices for life."
"It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful, every man according to his several ability," and our greatest desire is to be faithful to the Lord and to the Shareholders of the Society, organized by Brother Russell and conducted so successfully by him for 34 years.
We, and hundreds of other friends, have endeavored to find some legal means of calling a special meeting of the Shareholders of the Society to pass upon these matters, but so far without success. If he cannot himself rule absolutely, he has apparently determined to put to the front the Peoples Pulpit Association, of which he claims to be President for life.
In regard to the relationship of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society to the Peoples Pulpit Association, and to the I. B. S. A., our dear Pastor, in The Watch Tower of Dec. 1, 1915, page 359, 2nd col., says: "Thus the whole management is by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and these auxiliary organizations merely help in carrying on its work."
"In other words, the Peoples Pulpit Assn. cannot transact business except through the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has the management, and the Peoples Pulpit Assn. does the work-absolutely."
Brother Rutherford now repudiates all this and says he will act through the Peoples Pulpit Association, and has issued a command that Brothers Wright, Ritchie, Hoskins and Hirsh shall, like Brother Johnson, be required to leave Bethel In conclusion, dear friends, our only desire is to be found faithful to our trust. We believe this is the essence of the text: "It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful."
The Lord bless you and keep you. Pray that all concerned may have wisdom and grace to walk humbly and circumspectly before our Maker, that we may thus be prepared for His presence and kingdom.
Your brethren and fellow-servants of our dear Redeemer and King, A. N. PIERSON, J.D. WRIGHT.
A.I. RITCHIE, I.F. HOSKINS, R. H. HIRSH.
So long as our funds hold out extra copies may be had by addressing us.
P. O. BOX 179, Brooklyn, N. Y..