Tuesday, December 27, 2016

General Hall


by Jerome



The book God’s Kingdom Rules discusses on page 56 the stand that Bible Students took towards warfare during WW1. While the command not to kill was paramount in their minds, they also wished to be obedient to their understanding of the “higher powers (superior authorities)” of Romans 13. On that basis, some were prepared to join the army and wear a uniform. Of course, wearing a soldiers’ uniform, carrying a weapon, but then firing to miss, would be a difficult situation to be in, but this was the basic advice CTR gave in Volume 6 of Studies in the Scriptures, The New Creation, pages 594-595:

"We would consider it not amiss...to request a transference to the medical or hospital department, where our services could be used with full consent of our consciences; but even if compelled to serve in the ranks and fire our guns we need not feel compelled to shoot a fellow man."

This background may help some modern readers to understand the picture at the top of this article. This is General William Preble Hall, in full military uniform, wearing his medals. Hall was a Bible Student. The photograph is taken from a convention report for 1911; a convention where Hall was a featured speaker.

So who was this man? What was his background and connection with the Bible Students?

Hall came from a military background. He was born in 1848. He graduated from West Point in 1868 and served principally on Western Frontier duty until the Spanish-American war. He rose to the rank of Brigadier General. The following comes from the volume Who Was Who in America 1897-1942, page 507. (Spelling and abbreviations used have been preserved)

“Served principally on frontier duty until Spanish war; was in fight with Apaches at Whitestone, MT, Ariz., July 13 1873; Big Horn and Yellowstone Exped, 1876. And in action at Indian Creek, WY July 17, 1876, and combat of Slim Buttes, Dak., Sept. 9-10, `876; attacked by Indians while in command of reconnoitering party near camp on White River, CO, Oct 29, 1879, and while going rescue a brother officer was surrounded by about 35 warriors; awarded Congressional Medal of Honor for most distinguished gallantry on that occasion’ Adj. Gen Dep Puerto Rico 1899-1900. Was mem. Dept. Div. army, and distinguished marksmen teams. 1879-92, and won medals upon all these teams, shooting, carbine, and revolver. Retired June 11, 1912.”

The reference to Big Horn calls to mind the death of General Custer. From anecdotal evidence (letter from Russell Kurzen of WT headquarter staff dated Jan 23, 1995) “One day before the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Custer told Hall to scout the Indians, so he came within one day of dying with Custer and his men.” The same source said that Hall had a reputation for kindness and fairness to the Indians, often seeing to it that their needs were met out of army supplies. (Hall served as a Quartermaster at different stages of his career.)

(The words "anecdotal" and "evidence" probably don't belong together in the last paragraph. For an interesting discussion of this disputed account see the comments - Jerome)

So how did General Hall become a Bible Student?

Hall relates his experience in a letter to ZWT for June 1, 1905. In September 1904 while attending the World’s Fair at St Louis, he had picked up two tracts published by the Watch Tower, and was moved to write off for the first volume of Millennial Dawn. He soon obtained the other volumes and his letter shows his full commitment to the message.

By 1907 CTR was highlighting Hall’s example in sharing his faith. In a convention talk “To Colporteurs and Harvest Workers” CTR singled out Hall for praise in visiting all the people he knew in Washington with Bible Student tracts. In CTR’s estimation this took more courage than fighting on the battlefield.

In 1908, Hall was one of those listed who had taken “the vow”.

By 1911 Hall was giving the address of welcome at the Mountain Lake Park, Maryland, convention, before introducing J F Rutherford as convention chairman.

It was at this convention that a world tour was announced to investigate foreign missions. CTR and six companions made the tour and reported back in a special issue of the Watch Tower for April 1912. General Hall was one of the group, and in the photograph in the Proclaimers book on page 420, he is third from the left, just behind CTR who is seated. When the tour visited the Philippines, where Hall still knew some US military personnel, he gave a talk on "The Bible and Christianity from the Standpoint of a Soldier."

In July 1912 at a convention in Washington D.C. Hall led a session which the convention report headed Lake of Hell-Fire Officially Repudiated, which presented an anti-Hell resolution for adoption.

In 1915 J F Rutherford produced his booklet Great Battle in Ecclesiastical Heavens. In the character witnesses, Hall features prominently. His testimonial to CTR (dated April 3, 1915) takes up most of page 52 in the original American printing, signed W P Hall, Brigadier General, US Army, and then Hall’s own photograph takes up the whole of page 53.

After CTR died, comments on warfare and patriotism in the book The Finished Mystery resulted in eight well-known Bible Students being arrested and sentenced to long prison terms in 1918. They were released after around nine months in 1919.

With his background, one might wonder how Hall dealt with this. However, it appears he continued as a Bible Student in loyal association with the IBSA. He died in December 1927 and his obituary was published in the Society’s Golden Age magazine for February 8, 1928, page 302. Probably written by Clayton J Woodworth, it reads:

General Hall Passes On

GENERAL William Preble Hall, retired, former Adjutant General of the United States Army, and well known to Bible Students in all parts of the world, has passed on, at the age of 79 years.

General Hall, awarded a Congressional medal of honor for distinguished gallantry in action in one of Colorado’s many Indian wars, in 1879, was also brave is his defense of the truth. He was neither afraid nor ashamed to distribute tracts in his home neighborhood, one of the most exclusive in Washington, D.C.

Though always to some extent influenced by his early military training, he nevertheless took his stand on the Lord’s side and was a meek and faithful worker in the service work, doing with his might what his hand found to do. He toured the world with Pastor C.T. Russell on the foreign mission investigation and was the chairman of the Bible Students’ convention in Scranton in 1920. He was a brother greatly beloved by all who knew him.

(end of obituary)

Hall was buried in Arlington National cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia, Section 1, Lot 653. If you check the name “William Preble Hall” on the Find a Grave site, you can see his grave marker, along with a bit more biographical information, including family details which this article has not covered. The Find a Grave article does not mention his Bible Student connections. However, Hall also gets his own article on Wikipedia. This does provide information about his religious background along with some more photographs.

31 comments:

roberto said...

Thanks Jerome, very interesting. I do remember also a former Confederate General who became Bible Student, right?

Andrew Martin said...

That was the well-respected General Alexander Stewart, of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, later a university professor.

One reviewer of a biography of General Stewart makes the following comment, evidently about his later association with Charles Russell and the Bible Students:

"This fine book closes with what is, for me, the most disturbing fate to befall any of the Confederacy's officers. I can not explain how a committed Christian, and a well grounded Calvinist, could do what he did. I have discussed this with the author, and he has no explanation, either. My own theory is that Stewart [a] wasn't really well grounded-I dismiss that, or, [b] became unhinged from his wife's death and/or the effects of old age. In any event, the close marrs [sic] an otherwise great book. That, however, is General Stewart's fault, not [the author's]. Great book about a subject who, despite his tragic late life decision, deserves to be much better known."

Perhaps an example of how one's personal beliefs can distort their view of history?

Andrew Martin said...

Jerome, thanks for posting the interesting information about General Hall.

However, I wish to weigh in on your comment below:

"The reference to Big Horn calls to mind the death of General Custer. From anecdotal evidence (letter from Russell Kurzen of WT headquarter staff dated Jan 23, 1995) “One day before the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Custer told Hall to scout the Indians, so he came within one day of dying with Custer and his men.”"

I find the above problematic, as General Hall is documented as having belonged to the Fifth Cavalry, and Custer very definitely commanded the Seventh Cavalry. The 5th Cavalry was on another assignment at the time. I suppose it's possible Hall could have been temporarily attached to the 7th, as was Lt. John J. Crittenden, but I have been unable to find any record of that. The Biographical Register of Officers and Graduates of West Point (Supplement, Volume IV) makes no mention of Hall serving under Custer.

Frankly, I seriously doubt the veracity of Kurzen's source. I heard a version of the same story in a recorded lecture, which was full of unsubstantiated stories, such as the idea that the Gobitis flag salute case was decided against the Witnesses in 1940 due to Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes hating the Witnesses because he was a Baptist. Actually, Hughes wrote the unanimous positive opinion in Lovell vs Griffin, and endorsed the positive opinion in Cantwell vs Connecticut, both of which were victories for the Witnesses, so it's clear his vote in Gobitis was based on his legal opinions, not due to some inherent anti-Witness feelings.

The recorded lecture went on to hint that Custer's allegedly sending Wm. P. Hall away from the expedition was some sort of "providence", so that he could eventually become a Bible Student, travel internationally with Russell, witness to Theodore Roosevelt, etc.

I'm not buying it. I wish there were some sort of Witness Snopes site to check these things out, and separate the wheat from the chaff.

Oh, wait! Maybe this is that site! :)

Thanks again for your efforts, and the efforts of Schulz and de Vienne!

jerome said...

Hi Andrew

You make some very valid points. It interesting that the story about Hall and Custer also turned up in a talk. That is good in that it shows it doesn't just originate with Russell Kurzen, but was "around". Which of course doesn't make it accurate. Kurzen's letter is a personal one to someone, written when he was in his late eighties. In the letter it gives Hall himself as the source of the information - quote "he often loved to tell..." etc. (Hall's and Kurzen's lives overlapped by 20 years, but there is no indication they actually met, which I think Kurzen would have said if that were so.) It also suggests the thought of "providence" in view of Hall's later Bible Student history. I quite deliberately left that part out and prefaced the whole account with "anecdotal evidence" - i.e. unverified.

Thanks for your detailed research.
Jerome

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

http://images.library.wisc.edu/History/EFacs/SetPerAmerInd/Finerty/reference/history.finerty.i5.pdf

These two links should 'un-confuse' the issue.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

https://books.google.com/books?id=fuVKAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA171&lpg=PA171&dq=%22william+p.+hall%22+big+horn+and+yellowstone&source=bl&ots=LwpyqfRmhh&sig=qNeWOIVvoGPbhJrhJS6OLgVYhH4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwirtPaLyJbRAhVDwmMKHZTiAHwQ6AEIPTAJ#v=onepage&q=%22william%20p.%20hall%22%20big%20horn%20and%20yellowstone&f=false

Once on this page, search "hall"

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

More:

https://books.google.com/books?id=XgQXDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA434&lpg=PA434&dq=William+Preble+Hall+yellowstone&source=bl&ots=4ARZNv-G8j&sig=ZRzgohNF8zXfEqQQcI3z64jDe4U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiWnOPRy5bRAhUL-GMKHfUHDWkQ6AEIQDAF#v=onepage&q=William%20Preble%20Hall%20yellowstone&f=false

https://books.google.com/books?id=KOgUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA770&lpg=PA770&dq=William+Preble+Hall+yellowstone&source=bl&ots=6JcGigPNEO&sig=A0nWL7cT5ZrcZF_lIAZgZ5wATyc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiWnOPRy5bRAhUL-GMKHfUHDWkQ6AEIRTAH#v=onepage&q=William%20Preble%20Hall%20yellowstone&f=false

jerome said...

The main thing I get from the references is that Hall and Custer as contemporaries in these campaigns could have been together if things had been different - but obviously weren't. Which is basically what the Kurzen letter says, with a bit of embellishment. Kurzen had probably met someone who knew someone who had a friend who might have met General Hall decades before and who thought someone said... That's how these things tend to happen. I'm glad I used the word "anecdotal" in the original post.

Gary said...

Many thanks to Jerome, Andrew, Rachael and others for this interesting discussion regarding W.P. Hall.

As regards the position related in the God’s Kingdom Rules book in last week’s study, this is an accurate generic description of the position of Bible Students in Continental Europe whose governments pushed them into service from 1914 onward i.e. they wore the uniform as part of their respective armies and attempted to manoeuvre their position therein to one of medical support where possible. Where it wasn’t possible, they carried weapons and 'fired to miss' when in battle.

For Bible Students in Britain, however, it was different. Between 1914 and early 1916 Bible Student men of military age simply didn’t join up. When conscription was enforced from 2 March 1916 the Military Service Act allowed provision for exemption for conscientious objectors. Bible Students here attempted to benefit from these provisions but many tribunals allowed only a partial rather than the complete exemption that had been intended. Some were allowed no exemption whatsoever and sent to work in the regular army, while others were allowed the partial exemption and sent to the Non-Combatant Corps (NCC). At this point the vast majority determined to follow Pastor Russell’s more recent advice given in the Watch Tower 1 September 1915, p.260 that “to put on the military uniform implied the duties and responsibilities of a soldier as recognized and accepted.” Russell wondered “how great the influence would be for peace, for righteousness, for God, if a few hundred of the Lord’s faithful were to follow the course of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and refuse to bow down to the god of war.”

Bible Students from Britain responded positively to this invitation and their stand for peace is now becoming a matter of public record. Despite having no earlier peace testimony, almost a quarter of the 35 conscientious objectors who received the death penalty (commuted to penal servitude) were Bible Students and their determined stand is known to have strengthened the resolve of other men in the group. The vast majority of Bible Students who were put into the regular army and NCC refused the uniform and received court martial accordingly before being sent to various civil prisons. A few accepted their lot, initially at least, in the NCC but usually, sooner or later, these were put into positions where the authorities insisted on work which impinged on their consciences so that disobedience, court martial and separation from the army resulted. No doubt a few who held Bible Student beliefs weakened in their resolve and joined the forces. However I am aware of no Bible Student from Britain who remained such while being put on the front line holding a weapon.

I hope this clarification helps. The variety of situations existing in multiple countries must certainly pose a conundrum for the excellent writing staff at the US Bethel. How grateful we are for their devoted work.

Gary Perkins


jerome said...

I can strongly recommend Gary's book on Bible Student Conscientious Objectors in World War One - Britain.

https://www.createspace.com/5737946



Donald Jacobs said...

Very interesting I've long been fascinated by the Little Bighorn and by the early Bible Students so amazing to see a connection.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Some seem not to understand the difference between The Little Bighorn, a tributary of the Big Horn river and the river itself. The Little Bighorn is a smallish stream in Montana and the site of "Custer's Last Stand."

When Lt. Hall under General Cook went on the Yellowstone and Bighorn campaign, it was up the larger river into the Yellowstone region in Wyoming. The two events weren't geographically close though related politically. Look at a map. The United States is a vast country, not like the very small countries of Europe. Our readers in the EU don't always understand that. Similarity of name does not mean geographically close.

One of my favorite blog readers once asked why I didn't just drive to the Library of Congress to view something, not realizing that's nearly a 3300 mile trip. The UK, for example, is somewhat smaller than the state I live in. Washington isn't that big, neither is the UK or France or any other country in Europe except Russia.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

from today's email. We never saw the post Rud tried to make. Or it would be up. Prolly should ask before you jump the gun. I think our books speak for themselves. We tell the story as is.

> After reading the article on General Hall on Bruce´s sight [site] I sent a
> reply mentioning that General l Hall might have been disillusioned
> with the Society before he died. I offered in evidence that the 1929
> Reunion Convention Report stated that General Hall would undoubtedly
> have attended the convention had he been still around. Obviously this
> piece of infornmation was not palatable and so was ignored, not
> published This confirms my suspicion that Bruce´s crew is a bunch of
> Watchtower adherents that are uncomfortable with facts that are
> adverse to the Society. Needless to say I will not pay any further
> attention to these WT adherents.

Andrew Martin said...

Maybe Rud got caught up in the pictorial step of "Prove You're Not a Robot"? I think it's happened to me before - misidentified lasagna as pizza? :)

"Reunion Convention Report" was apparently associated with one of the other Bible Student groups? Perhaps General Hall kept a foot in both camps? Seems highly unlikely that WT would publish an obituary if he had decisively parted company with them!

Rud also stated: "Obviously this piece of information was not palatable and so was ignored, not published[.] This confirms my suspicion that Bruce´s crew is a bunch of
Watchtower adherents that are uncomfortable with facts that are adverse to the Society."

You're barking up the wrong proverbial tree, Rud! This site is the LAST place that would censor unpalatable information. Read their books - some very "unpalatable" information is included - because it's the truth.

Also, in reply to: "Needless to say I will not pay any further attention to these WT adherents." your loss, Rud. Get a grip.

Now if I can get past the pictorial shibboleth ...)

:)

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

The reunion convention report reads:

"We did not forget others of late years, whom we believe would have been present with us, but having finished their course, are sleeping with Jesus, and who could say, with Paul of old, as we read in 2 Timothy 4:7, 8 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not only to me, but unto all them also that love his appearance."

Besides Brother Russell, I would mention Brother Ernest Kuehn, Brother Maxwell, Brother General Hall, Brother Streeter, Brother Robie, Brother Dr. John Edgar, Brother Pierson, Brother Barton, Brother Samson, and you can think of many others. Last, but not least, I would not forget our dear Brother George Huntsinger, to whom we owe so much in connection with the previous Convention Reports, because of his labors as an expert stenographer, which skill he used so freely in reporting the various discourses.

Many present had been in the Truth for 30, 35 and 40 years, or more. The fact that the Truth is just as precious to them today, shows that in the early days of their truth experiences, they laid the foundation, true and sure, upon which they have been rearing the superstructure. From the many letters received since the convention, it is quite manifest that many hundreds of friends were present in spirit with us at that Convention, who were not there personally. One letter,
just received today while writing this article, tells how this brother is alone, isolated, not another persons believes as he does between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and he says: "You can imagine how glad I will be to receive a copy of the Convention Report"

A supposition is no more than wishful thinking. Personally, I'd need more evidence than this. But since this is not the era we're researching, I'll leave this for later.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

From Rud

Hi Rachel,[Rachael]

Fine and dandy. I was mistaken. Andrew´s comment that Hall might have kept a foot in each camp is valid. But to be sympathetic towards those who had decisively abandoned the Society would indicate that one was not in favor of the current characterizing the Society in the latter part of the 1920´s. General Hall would certainly not be the only one who did not like the trend. It is true that Hall would not have broken officially with the Society, since an obituary was published in The Golden Age, but it is likely that he had made it known to people who had left that he sympathized with them. Similarly, Andrew N. Pierson, the Swede who was vice president in 1917, seemingly never formally broke with the Society, although he was thorougly disillusioned and in the end supported the people connected with the Pastoral Bible Institute, chartered in 1918. I have both volumes published by Bruce and you and I think they are first rate. You may publish this email if you should like to do so. Obviously there are problems trying to get through, so I would not attempt to do so again.

Best Regards
Rud Persson

Andrew Martin said...

If I remember correctly, at least Robert B. Maxwell, Dr. John Edgar, and Benjamin Barton predeceased Charles T. Russell - so it's impossible to predict (accurately, that is) how they would have reacted to the post-Russell schisms.

It's interesting that the name Pierson is included in the list. If it refers to Andrew Pierson, he served as Vice President of the WT for a while during the time of dissent following Russell's death, and if I remember correctly, he "waffled" back and forth. Not sure where he ended up, with one group or another, or on the sidelines. General Hall may have done similarly, although I agree there's no actual evidence for it. Perhaps, depending on age and health, he just got tired of all the controversy.

Maybe someday some solid evidence, one way or another, will surface. Until then, I agree - just a supposition.

jerome said...

When Andrew Pierson died his funeral report was in the P.B.I's Herald magazine, which promoted the reunion convention. William Hall's funeral was not. When William Hall died, notice of his death was in the Golden Age, it was not in the other magazine. So it must have been understood AT THE TIME where the general sympathies of both men lay.

I had the Golden Age quote, so I used it in my article. That quote is fact, not speculation. End of subject.

To try and second guess what people might have done HAD THEY LIVED LONG ENOUGH is pointless. It is a bit like saying what would have happened had CTR lived to the same age as Maria? He would have died in 1940. But he didn't. Or if J F Rutherford had been hit by a tramcar in 1915? But he didn't. (We might have our own personal views based on our preconceptions or prejudices, but they don't belong here.)

Since we are dealing with history, it is better to deal with FACTS and leave supposition (both pro and con) to others with their different agendas.

S.P.Olsen said...

Thanks Jerome! Because P.B.I. "kidnapper" deceased, proves nothing.

roberto said...

Jerome, great.

Chris G. said...

Thank you Jerome, your final thought was much appreciated.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Hi Rachael,

If it is all right I would like you to put up my response to Andrew and Jerome. I agree that the 1929 claim that certain ones who died before Russell did would attend if they had lived is wishful thinking. Not quite so with people who died in the 1920´s. Their attitudes were undoubtedly known by other Bible Students. The fact that General Hall was mentioned here indicates to me that he had voiced sympathy towards those who had left, even though it would be a mere assumption that he would actually have come to the reunion convention. R.H. Hirsh and J.D. Wright did not attend although both were alive and well and had given up the Society long ago. Huge numbers were reconsidering at the time and were friendly with the PBI even though they did not come out in the open.

Pierson certainly "waffled" in 1917 but sided with Rutherford before the election in 1918, though not happy with the development. In 1921, when the Swedish WT manager August Lundborg visited him, he was still favoring the Society. That ended a few years afterwards, and George H. Fisher, himself then on a collision course with the Society, held the funeral service for Pierson.

Best Regards
Rud Persson

jerome said...

Going by the printed word that has survived - most who left association with the IBSA ended up having their deaths recorded in the PBI Herald. General Hall was not among them, so there is a lot of assumption going on here. When I wrote the article (which was just designed as a filler, not something to open huge controversy!) I went by the evidence - and the printed evidence is the Golden Age's testimonial. Clayton Woodworth was well up on what "the others" were doing, as is evident from some of his barbs at individuals in the pages of Golden Age.

Quite a different situation for Andrew Pierson. When the PBI's chief writer, R E Streeter died, Pierson spoke at his funeral. It is recorded in the Herald for Jan 15-Feb 1 (double issue) 1925. Within a year, Pierson was dead himself and his funeral report is in detail in the Herald for December 15, 1925. So that is printed evidence.

A comment made by one person at a 1929 convention on what they hoped MIGHT have happened if General Hall had still been around, is a bit thin. I can't go inside General Hall's head, and neither can anyone else. For actual EVIDENCE, I would accept the Golden Age. If others want to think differently, then of course they are free to do so.

And again - my last word - all I did was write a "filler" - I didn't intend to start a re-run of the Russell-Eaton debates!



Andrew Martin said...

I am still learning more here than I ever thought possible.

ramblinwaymore said...

I'm sorry I came into the conversation a little late. I feel Jerome makes some good points about actual evidence. I would like to point out that the only fact proven by the 1929 Convention Report is that the writer had a fond memory of several brethren who had fallen asleep in death. Their affiliation with either the IBSA or a Bible Student faction did not matter. For example, in addition to General Hall, the writer also mentions Dr. Rodney Lymann Robie, a very prominent Pilgrim. It was thought that Robie would have attended the convention as well. However, Robie remained with the Watch Tower Society and his Pilgrim itinerary is found in the Watchtower as late as 1926. He died in Texas while on a Pilgrim trip in February of 1927. His obituary can be found in the 1927 Golden Age, along with the well known William Page. It's good to keep in mind that separate beliefs did not automatically equal hostility. Paul Johnson tells of a time he wished the Society to publish a booklet for him. He visited Brooklyn and engaged Robert Martin in a very cordial conversation. However Van Amburgh refused to speak to him and he felt Rutherford's later correspondence was condescending. Personality often dictated how one viewed the brethren who stayed with or left the Society. We cannot group them all under an umbrella of constant warfare. So although it may have been presumed that General Hall and Dr. Robie would have attended a Bible Student Convention, this would neither indicate that they were disloyal to the organization they continued to serve or agreed with the divergence of spiritual thought.
Either way, I would also like to point out that the writers who contribute to this blog put a great deal of personal time into research to bring us accurate information. They deserve respect and should not be attacked because they possess a different viewpoint from us. We can respectfully disagree without argument.

Chris G. said...

Nicely said "ramblinwaymore".

jerome said...

It is a little off topic really and outside the time frame for this blog, but I was interested in ramblingwaymore's comment about Paul Johnson. Quote: "Paul Johnson tells of a time he wished the Society to publish a booklet for him. He visited Brooklyn and engaged Robert Martin in a very cordial conversation. However Van Amburgh refused to speak to him and he felt Rutherford's later correspondence was condescending."

Can you give me a reference for this, either in the comment trail or back-channel? Most of Johnson's comments I have seen about Rutherford tend to be vitriolic. Calling his correspondence "condescending" seems extremely mild in comparison.

ramblinwaymore said...

Absolutely. Check out the Epiphany Series Volume 5, A Miscellany, starting with page 238. He does tend to build up in his rant, concluding Rutherford's actions were entirely "Rutherfordian." :-)

ramblinwaymore said...

Absolutely. Check out the Epiphany Series, Volume 5, A Miscellany, starting with page 238.
He does tend to rant a bit, concluding that Rutherford's actions were entirely "Rutherfordian." :-)
Shoot me an email with your thoughts.

FH

jerome said...

Thank you for the reference. It is an interesting account where Johnson wanted the Society to produce material for him to use. According to Johnson he went to Bethel (quote) “as the hand and mouth of the Lord”. He was asked to put his request in writing and ultimately was refused, although he was advised that could purchase the Society’s own publications (including the works of CTR) to use if he wished.

According to Johnson the reason given for refusing his request was because he’d come to the Society as “representative priest” and had written off the Society as “the great company” - i.e. secondary spiritual class. Johnson’s response sidestepped this by claiming he’d never said that in this particular letter. Technically that might have been true, although he doesn’t reproduce the correspondence. But Johnson had said PLENTY elsewhere.

Johnson’s visit to Brooklyn dates from May 1920. And if the account doesn’t have him railing against Rutherford full-steam as he does elsewhere, it does build up into a bit of a rant. I find it equally interesting that Johnson as “anti-typical Gideon” also called on the PBI in the same trip to Brooklyn and received the same negative response. However, his personal attack on them in Another Harvest Sifting Reviewed makes that unsurprising.

So again, thanks for the reference. Your point that on a personal level some people may have kept in touch for a while is a valid one. I am mindful of John Adam Bohnet’s fairly gentle put-down of the PBI in the New Era Enterprise (August 21, 1921 “God Blessing the Society”). Talking about the PBI, he wrote: “It seems to be inoffensive - doing little or nothing....Some people prefer to be associated with a clique that does nothing worthwhile mentioning.”

The characterization of “evil slave” would come later.

Of course, all this is way off point for the era of the blog. But you can contact me back-channel if you wish. My contact email is on blogger, although I note that yours isn’t.

Andrew Martin said...

J. A. Bohnet's comment on the PBI:

“It seems to be inoffensive - doing little or nothing....Some people prefer to be associated with a clique that does nothing worthwhile mentioning.”

... reminds me of the way an elderly Swiss brother described Alexandre Freytag's Philanthropic Society of the Friends of Man(L'Amis du Homme/Menschenfreunde) decades later:

"A permanent garage for old cars." Basically, a religion for people who didn't want to go anywhere - especially in the public ministry.