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January 1919 IBSA Convention Report





January 4, 1919

IN accordance with the CHARTER of the W. T. B. & T. Society, the shareholders and proxy-holders assembled Saturday morning, January 4, 1919, and awaited the call to order. Ushers were stationed at each aisle to permit only those who had their voting shares with them to enter the first floor of the auditorium; several hundred others were directed to the balcony. The chairman, Brother C. A. Anderson, of Baltimore, Md., called the meeting to order at 11 a. m.


We report the chairman's opening remarks as follows ; We want to say we are very glad indeed to meet you all. ... It is quite a privilege, I assure you, and I am sure we have all met together with one heart and mind in respect to the Lord's Word, and His Truth, and Service, I trust that we are all rejoicing in the great privilege which He has granted you and I in having a part in this work. I am sure we are all seeking the Lord's guidance and direction; and to this end we want to open our services by standing" and offering a silent prayer — each one seeking to know our Heavenly Father's will. Let us remember all who are His, and especially let us remember the dear ones who were with us this time last year, but who are now in bonds of afflictions — suffering for righteousness' sake.

I am sure we will all agree that the condition which confronts us at the present time is one that has never existed before in the history of the Society. I am sure that you have all been thinking the matter over carefully and prayerfully in your minds, as to what would be best for the Society, and also for those who represent the Society in connection with this election and this meeting.

You are aware that we sent you a letter four or five weeks ago, and probably know that it was thought best not to call an election, A little later on we received from the Watch Tower notice that there would be an election: and you also received your proxies. I am sure that it caused you to think. Your board did not know just how to act. or what would be best. When the time came to consider an election the Society thought it advisable to call a meeting of the Pilgrims — in order to know their sentiment. It developed that they were in favor of having an election. Very shortly after that (when I got back to Baltimore) Brother Work 'phoned me, stating that he had had an interview with the attorneys; that it was their opinion that it would work probably to some disadvantage towards getting the brethren out. This is the reason why that letter was sent out by Brother Sexton. He was sent to Brooklyn to consult with the attorneys and also with some of the rest of the friends there, and that letter you received was the result of this trip.

The following week we went to Pittsburgh and held a board meeting, and it was agreed upon that we should not have an election. Brother Sexton was sent South the following week. When he came back he had received information that he thought it was wise and best and the only ordinary course for us to have an election. After viewing the matter from all angles, we concluded it was best to have an election. You are here, therefore, to hold an election.

Now it has caused a division in your board, and a division among, I presume, many of you — as to whether it would be best to hold an election or to postpone it. It is for this reason that we have invited our attorneys here that they may give you the legal status of the affairs. I am sure we all want to do the Lord's will in the matter. Let us look to Him and ask for His guidance.

We will now have the treasurer's report.

It was then moved, seconded and unanimously carried that this report, as read, be accepted.

Before the election of officers, the Society took action on some changes in the by-laws, as offered by a committee, the chairman of which was Brother E. H. Thompson, of Washington, D. C.

Brother Hudgings: Chairman and dear friends. I would like to make a motion in view of the peculiar situation which now exists, and our hope that our present officers who are now in bonds may be returned to us very shortly.


Brother Thompson: I ask for the motion to be read.

Brother Hudgings: I will read the motion. "In view of the fact that our president and secretary-treasurer —  both members of our Board of Directors, are now being held in the federal prison at Atlanta, and that their appeal is now pending; and we believe them to be innocent; and that they will be vindicated and returned to us within a few weeks or months, and that an election of other officers and directors at this time — under these peculiar circumstances — might and would undoubtedly be misconstrued by the Government as a repudiation of these brethren, and might therefore prove to be detrimental to their case. I therefore MOVE that we take a recess of the annual meeting, so far as an election of officers is concerned, for a period of six months, or until the first Saturday in July, in the interest of these brethren and in the interests of the Society as a whole."

(Motion seconded and the question submitted.)

Brother Hudgings: In explanation of this motion I wish to say I am sure we are all cognizant of the very peculiar situation that confronts us at this time in connection with our dear brethren who are now in bonds for Christ's sake. It seems to me that there are a great many questions entering into the deliberation of this day that would make it practically necessary that an adjournment of this meeting be taken.

I might mention a few things that I have in mind: I believe that the majority who are present here, either personally or by proxy, agree that there is undoubtedly a great work for this Society to do within possibly the next few months. Perhaps the greatest work that this Society has ever undertaken will be undertaken within a short time. We have seen the harvest work progressing for forty years, but now we expect to witness a great awakening on the part of the foolish virgin class, and perhaps millions will soon come to a recognition of the truth through the instrumentality of those who are now acquainted with the great Divine Plan. It stands to reason that in such a work of this kind and character, we would be expected by the Lord to act very cautiously in respect to the selection of our officers to direct that work. It also stands to reason that we would need to put forth the best man for the place that the Church could possibly produce. We would need brethren of courage — men who are fearless; men who would not take a compromising stand. And it is my belief, dear friends, that it is the sentiment of this assembly, and the friends throughout the whole United States, and the length and breadth or the world that the one and only person that is best qualified to direct such a stupendous work is our dear president, now in bonds for Christ's sake. (Applause.)

The question before us, therefore, at this time is: Shall we, the shareholders, here assembled in person, and by proxy, seek to jeopardize the best interests of this work by rushing forward and hastily installing into office a set of new officers, admittedly weak in comparison to those selected here last year, in the very face of the appeal of the case of our brethren, which we have every confidence will restore them to us, completely vindicated in the eyes of the Government, and in the eyes of the world? Or shall we make the mistake of closing our eyes to the true situation simply because of some smaller and minor details of the work which some may suppose might be better taken care of by a full set of officers than by the present arrangement? We thereby would, perhaps, make the grave mistake of jeopardizing the best interests of the Society as a whole, which mistake we would recognize when these dear brethren walk out from behind their prison bars: and which we trust they will do, within a comparatively short time (applause) — but then it would be too late.

I have a communication in my pocket which I trust to be privileged to read at the close of this discussion, which is the expression of our dear president respecting the situation that now confronts us. I was privileged to visit him in the Atlanta prison a few days ago, and in the presence of a guard the liberty was given him to dictate a rather lengthy interview touching upon the points that are so perplexing to you and to me — to all of us at this time. But before reading that expression from our president himself, I think it will be well for us all to take into consideration the facts and circumstances in which we would be placed, and would be obliged to confront, if we should take the action today of electing a full set of new officers and directors of this Society in the absence of those who are now suffering behind prison walls for you and me.

I say for you and me because of the fact that it was our action here one year ago that resulted in the imprisonment of Brother Rutherford, Brother Van Amburgh and the other members of our Board of Directors. They have been imprisoned, not for anything they did personally and on their own initiative, but they have been imprisoned because they faithfully carried out the policy that you and I advocated when we placed them in office. They have been imprisoned, dear friends, because they fulfilled, conscientiously and properly, the duties that you and I as members of the Society laid upon them! If they had been imprisoned for something they individually did apart from their work as our officers, the situation would have been entirely different. But not so! You and I to this extent are responsible for their imprisonment; and they are at this moment in the Atlanta prison as your representatives and mine. (Applause.)

It might have been argued on the part of the Government that since the activities of the Society were considered to be improper during the period of the war, every member who participated in that activity should be indicted and called into court, and convicted and put into prison for that activity. But the Government did not do that. They merely selected SEVEN or EIGHT representatives of you and me, and we cannot get away from the fact that the Society's interests are vitally linked with the case of these brethren, our officers and directors, down there in Atlanta at this time; and the condemnation of these men was a condemnation of the whole Society. The interests of the Society therefore stand vitally linked with their interests in this connection.

It seems to me that from a business standpoint alone —  leaving sentiment out of the matter altogether — it is your duty and mine to uphold and retain the situation, exactly as it existed at the time of the indictment of these officers. Furthermore, when we look forward to the work that we expect the Society to accomplish in the near future, from the business standpoint I believe it would be the greatest mistake that we as a Society could possibly make to drop these brethren and install a new set of officers — especially when we believe their vindication is near through their appeal which is pending.

You and I, perhaps, would not mean such action as a repudiation of them. We do not have the thought that we want to repudiate our brethren, who are suffering for us- Of course not! But we must look at the matter from the standpoint of how the Government will view it. It is a reasonable assumption that in tomorrow morning's press the newspapers will carry a dispatch of the deliberations and action taken by this Society today. We might pass a resolution, of course, commending these brethren: but they won't print the resolution. What they would print would be our action in connection with the election; and so surely as we proceed and elect new officers of this Society, when we are all cognizant of the fact that the appeal may be argued in the Circuit Court within the next thirty days, they would say that the Russellite organization, at their annual meeting yesterday in the city of Pittsburgh, dropped the officers indicted and found guilty by the Eastern District Court of New York, and by this action they indicated that they believed those men guilty. Or they will say by this action we have shown that we had no confidence that the men would be vindicated in the Court of Appeals. Either one would work a detriment, and it would undoubtedly have a great influence on the minds of the judges of the Appellate Court, if the matter was thus stated in no uncertain terms by the counsel for the Government.

Of course the Lord is managing his affairs. The Lord is able to raise up men to direct His work. No one disputes that! The Lord has all power to perform miracles. But we do not believe that is the way He usually works. We know that it is not. We therefore are called upon, in view of the fact that we have a great work ahead


of us, to use the best judgment we have, dear brethren; and so long as we recognize that our brethren in bonds are specially qualified for the work, and that their present experiences are further training them for that work, we have a responsibility before the Lord. We should not make the mistake of putting into office those admittedly weak in comparison to them, when we believe they will soon be returned to us.

I have thus far specially dwelt upon the subject from the standpoint of the business interests of the Society and our responsibility in connection with the case of our brethren — leaving out the question of sentiment. But I do not know why sentiment should not also enter into the problem. Suppose it was Brother Russell who was in prison at this time instead of Brother Rutherford! Do you suppose we would meet here today, if the conditions were exactly the same, and take hasty action, electing new officers — especially when we believed that Brother Russell would be returned to us from prison within a short time? And let me tell you, dear friends, if Brother Russell had remained alive with us in the flesh down to the year 1918, he would undoubtedly be behind prison bars at this moment with our dear Brother Rutherford. We would not make this mistake if Brother Russell was in prison, however. Well, you say, "Brother Russell was the Seventh Messenger of the Church!" That is true. But since our dear Brother Russell has passed beyond the vail, we have had many evidences, have we not, that Brother Rutherford is the next best qualified to carry on the work! I do not believe there is a dissenting voice.

The whole question is whether we shall do a little sacrificing now, for a short period of time, and incur the small petty annoyances in connection with the work under present conditions; or shall we, because of a few minor questions that enter into the affairs of the Society which might make it somewhat advantageous to have a full set of officers and directors, rush ahead and elect weaker officers in their place? It seems to me that the latter would be a great mistake. The other course open to us is the one that we as a Society should take, i.e., adjourn this meeting now unless we intend to re-elect our imprisoned brethren.


There is just one more point that I would like to mention, and that is the situation as it seems to be outlined by the Lord in the 36th chapter of Jeremiah. We believe that the Lord has there made a very wonderful picture of the activities of the Lord's people down here in this end of the age. In this chapter we see the activities of the Society pictured, in connection with the Seventh Volume — even to the removal of the three or four leaves of the book which we were required to do last spring —  nine (9) months after the book made its advent into the world.

Then, in the 37th chapter, Jeremiah was accused of "falling away to the Chaldeans," which, of course, he denied. Then he was specifically charged with weakening the morale of the men of war, and on that point he was apprehended and placed into the dungeon. The account goes on to say, that after a while he was brought out of the dungeon for an interview with the king (the last king of Israel), and the result was, of course, that the king did not follow his advice and his kingdom was taken away.

The point is that Jeremiah was given liberty at the hand of the Chaldeans and was given the privilege of choosing to remain in the land or go elsewhere. We believe that this also is a part of the picture, and it is a picture that the Lord has drawn.

Jeremiah, we believe, is a picture of the Lord's people at this time. The Society, of which you and I are members, stands in relation to the whole body, at this time, as its head, so to speak. The head of this Society is in the dungeon — in exact accordance with this picture of Jeremiah 36:37, 38.

The remainder of the picture will be carried out. I firmly believe that we will see that as the head of the Jeremiah class (the Society — represented in its president) is now in the dungeon, even so, he will be called forth from the dungeon, and will appear before kings, and we will find in connection therewith that there will go forth the greatest work the Church has ever done, and ever will do, on this side of the vail. So surely as the head of the Jeremiah class went into the dungeon, so surely he will come out of the dungeon; and he will appear before kings, just exactly as it is shown in other parts of Scriptures, in Revelation 17, and Psalms 149 — showing a great work (not yet fully accomplished, but will yet be accomplished) — "the binding of their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron."

Our dear Brother Russell, always expected that there would be a great work to be accomplished in the flesh, and that the truth friends would come into great prominence. I believe that will be accomplished. And I, for one, believe that the Lord has permitted the imprisonment of our brethren for a special purpose in connection with future witnessing to the world. I want to tell you something: If we proceed with the election today, and it is construed in the press reports as a repudiation of these brethren (as it undoubtedly will be), we are going to jeopardize, in the very beginning, one of the most important features of the work just before us. Some of you perhaps know that the Society is arranging for some great activity — publicity — in connection with the case, that we may let the world know why these men are in prison, and why they have been denied bail! While they have been kept in prison, the worst seditionists in the country have been given bail. When the facts are all published they will come to recognize that there has been a hand behind the scenes, and that hand is Papacy — the great ecclesiastical system, which is headed by Papacy — and it is that system which has been so immensely pleased over the imprisonment of our brethren. It is that system, I verily believe, that has been largely responsible for their having been denied bail pending their appeal. Those facts shall be made known in the Lord's providence. (Applause.)

That will mean that an agitation will be started respecting this matter. People will begin to talk about it just as they were talking all over this country about another case of considerable importance a few weeks ago, i.e., the case of Tom Mooney in California. Now we have no particular interest in that case, but the point is you can't mention Tom Mooney's name on the streets today but everybody knows who he is; yet he was not known a short time ago. The time is coming — and we believe it is not many months off — perhaps not many weeks, until you will not be able to mention the name of J. F. Rutherford and the other convicted leaders of the I. B. S. A. without nearly everybody knowing who you are talking about. They will know why those men are in prison and unjustly held, and that they have been even denied the right to bail! (Applause.)

It is the thought to have various brethren who are specially qualified for such a work to interview the editors of the newspapers throughout the country respecting this matter. Now then, if we take action today and elect new officers, and the press reports go out through the country tomorrow that "the Russellite organization elected new officers yesterday, even in the face of the appeal of the case of their leaders, thereby repudiating them, showing that they had no confidence that the appeal would result in their vindication; showing that they did not believe in the activities of those men and were not willing to back them up in their activities which got them into trouble," then how do you suppose the editors of this country will answer these brethren when they go to them and ask for publicity in this case? They will answer, "Why, we had a dispatch from the Associated Press on January 5th, saying that the action taken by their own organization down there in Pittsburgh on the 4th of January, 1919, dropped them from the Society, even though their appeal was pending, and was to be argued within thirty days! How is it that you come and ask me to give publicity and aid in connection with this case when their own organization would not lift their finger to aid them?"

Now, dear brethren, one more point: We have heard brethren here and there say many times, "Oh, I would do anything for those brethren in bonds. I would gladly go down there and exchange places with them!" (Amen!) But the brethren have not asked us to do that. They


have not asked any of us to exchange places with them, even for one day! But they do ask that, on advice of counsel, the election here today be postponed for a limited period, so that nothing may be done by the Society to unfavorably affect the appeal.

Now, since we know that it is legal to do so, and can undoubtedly see that it will be advisable from numerous standpoints to do so, and when we know that the brethren themselves have requested and advised it, as the proper course, if we then deliberately shut our eyes to the situation and go ahead and elect new officers, I for one would not want anyone who so votes to say in my presence, "I would do anything for those brethren in bonds. I would go down and exchange places with them if I could," if you would not even raise your hand to yield to their simplest request, backed up by sound reason, shown to have a very vital effect upon their case and upon the future activities of the Society.

Someone may say: "Well, of course we know that Brother Rutherford is the best qualified to be the head of the Society, and we would therefore assume that whoever is elected (if we do carry out the election today) would be glad to yield to Brother Rutherford when he comes out of prison; that he would be glad to resign." But his resignation would not install Brother Rutherford back into office. It would take an action of the shareholders to do that. We would need to call another meeting if anything like that was attempted. Why not set the date of that meeting at this time. Postpone it for a while and follow the advice of this morning's Manna text, if you please, and "Wait upon the Lord." (Applause.)

Why not, dear friends, take these matters into consideration and not make the mistake that some of us are inclined to make, because we feel we are at present jeopardized a little in respect to some routine work of the Society. Let us wait upon the Lord, and He will direct our paths. Let us not tie our hands today for the work that we expect to do tomorrow. Let us co-operate in this matter, and we will see the Lord's purpose ripening into fruition in a few months. We will then be glad that we did "Wait upon the Lord" this time. As we see the grand work accomplished in the hands of those whom the Lord undoubtedly would be best pleased to use — the head of the Jeremiah class, who is shortly to come out of the dungeon for the very purpose of directing that great work. . . . We will all be glad to hear Brother Rutherford's voice from the prison walls, after a silence of six months: (Applause.)

"To the Dear Friends: — Since the opportunity is kindly afforded me to dictate to a stenographer for a few moments, I am pleased to take this occasion to send a message to the friends. I send love and greetings to one and all. Except for the fact that I am unlawfully held in bonds, I would be with you in person at this time, but let us consider the bondage of myself and brethren one of the things which the Lord permits the enemy to do, and which He will overrule for good, and to His glory. When I say unlawfully in prison I speak advisedly. Never before have men been imprisoned in America for preaching the truth, and then denied bail while their case is pending an appeal. Concerning the legality of this, quote from a decision of the United States Supreme Court, which says: 'THE STATUTES OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE BEEN FRAMED UPON THE THEORY THAT A PERSON ACCUSED OF CRIME SHALL NOT, UNTIL HE HAS BEEN FINALLY ADJUDGED GUILTY IN THE COURT, BE ABSOLUTELY COMPELLED TO UNDERGO IMPRISONMENT OR PUNISHMENT, BUT MAY BE ADMITTED TO BAIL, NOT ONLY AFTER ARREST AND BEFORE TRIAL, BUT AFTER CONVICTION AND PENDING A WRIT OF ERROR.' IN ADDITION TO DENYING US OUR LIBERTY, WE have been deprived of the opportunity of counsel with our lawyers as the Constitution guarantees.

"Brothers Van Amburgh, Fisher, Robinson and myself are still the editors of the Watch Tower, having never resigned, and yet we are precluded from communicating with the Church through this channel. Even in the times of the religious persecution in the dark days of England the conditions were better. John Bunyan, although a prisoner for twelve years, was granted the privilege of communicating freely with the members of his Church on religious matters, which he did regularly. I mention this to again remind you, my dear brethren, of the perilous times in which we are living, and the adversaries that are arrayed against us. We are not warring merely against flesh, but with spiritual enemies arrayed against the Church in the final conflict which has begun. REVELATION 17:14 — 'The beast shall make war with the lamb.' There is no warfare amongst the members of the body of Christ, as indeed there cannot be; but the adversary is on the alert to try to cause strife in the ranks of his enemies. Let everyone look well to himself to see that the adversary does not succeed as to any of us. Remember, above all things, 'THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.' THE LAMB WILL SHORTLY PREVAIL IN THIS CONFLICT, and only the called, chosen and faithful will be with Him in glory. This is the crucial hour for those who are now in the race course. Satan's chief weapons are PRIDE, AMBITION and FEAR. If we find either of these in us and at work, we may know that the enemy is advancing upon us. If we see the enemy working in a brother, for his sake and the sake of the body, we should discourage and not render aid to his development. The question is not who shall fill the official positions, but what is for the best interests of the body. Pride, ambition and fear, necessarily in a combat, lead to a compromise with the enemy and any kind of compromise leads to disaster in the ranks. Remember that since Jesus came forth from the wilderness, Satan and his emissaries have warred against the Christ, and that now, and to the end, the conflict will be more subtle and desperate than ever before. Be assured then that whatever the beast says or intimates that we should do, that is the very thing that we should not do. Let our watchword always be, "WHAT WOULD OUR LORD HAVE US TO DO? AND ASCERTAINING THE MIND OF THE LORD, DO IT," and He will take care of the result because this is the fight of Revelation 17:14, between the lamb and the beast, and it is no individual fight.

"Oh, my brethren, how I long to be with you and speak with you face to face. For six months to this day I have not been permitted to speak. How thankful I am that our Lord has permitted me to send this message to you now. Having a desire to be with you, that we might be of mutual help to each other in the narrow way, and believing the Lord would be pleased to help us to make effort to that end, we have urged counsel to do all that could be legitimately done for our needs. We knew the adversary would put it into the minds of our enemies to keep us from being with you at this time. He has succeeded. We knew this upon general knowledge of his methods, and we had also the following direct and significant information, to-wit:

"About the time of the arrest of my fellow prisoners and myself, one who represented himself as an official of the department of our vicious prosecutors said in substance to Brother  ———, of Harrisburg, Pa., as follows: 'We are going to put those leaders of your sect behind the bars and keep them there. Then if your Society wants to redeem itself it must elect men to fill its offices that will conduct the Society along more conservative lines than did Rutherford.' They succeeded in rushing us behind the bars, and prevented bail in order to keep us here. Now will they be able to put the Society into hands that will work to their pleasure, or will they be able to use today's action of the Society to their disadvantage? Let there be no compromise, dear brethren, between the seed of the Serpent and the Lord of Glory — between the Beast and the Lamb.

"Having on two separate occasions been elected as


president, which office I still hold, I feel at liberty to write you frankly. Individuals in this conflict do not count, because all are one in Christ Jesus, therefore we need not hesitate to mention one individual and without reflection upon others. For a number of years the brother I am about to mention worked under Brother Russell's personal supervision as a Pilgrim, and also later as haying charge exclusively of the work in the West Indies and countries of South America. He is calm, sober in mind, discreet and fears only God. He possesses executive ability, and that I know. He is able to present the truth, and is consecrated to the Lord and the promulgation of His message, and would not compromise for a single instant, I am persuaded. I humbly suggest, therefore, as the most available man for president of our Society in the event election is held, the name of our dear Brother E. J. Coward, and for vice-president, Brother C. H. Anderson, or Brother C. A. Wise, and for secretary treasurer I would suggest Brother Hugo H. Reimer.

"Some time ago, however, counsel advised that because of the importance of our case that the annual election should be deferred for a time until they could have had the case heard in the Appellate Court; and that an election of officers now would seem to indicate that the Society was not in harmony with the position which we took as officers and directors; and that they would be confronted in court by counsel for prosecution with the assertion that the Society is not morally supporting us because we are wrong. They reason and claim such as sound reasoning that the brethren at the office could continue the management for a few months longer as at present without disturbing anyone; and that our case would then appear to a better advantage, from every standpoint. The Society as an entity would have absolutely nothing to lose by such a course; hence it was not thought unwise to ask that a recess of the annual meeting be taken for a time. Hence some of the friends on advice of counsel asked that such recess be taken.

"Now we learn that some have considered this as wire pulling and electioneering. We are exceedingly sorry that anyone should have such a thought. Not one of us now behind the bars is asking for office, or seeking for office. No one has asked on our personal behalf, so far as we know, but some have asked that the enemy be not deliberately handed a club with which to mangle us further. We, brethren, while deprived of our liberty illegally gained, personally desire only the Lord's will to be done — I have every confidence that it will be done, but I feel I would be derelict of my duty to you, my brethren, if I failed to give warning and give you this message at this time. Let it be clearly understood that we (as a follower of the Lamb) stand firmly for the truth as the Lord wrote it by the prophet against Satan's empire and as He caused it to be interpreted in the Seventh Volume as well as in the preceding six, and for which testimony we are now in bonds. Let us not fear, but trust Him and doing so we will be with Him in glory shortly. It seems too bad to me that so much ado has been made about this election. Yet let us not say too bad, but smilingly say, the Lord will overrule it for good if we keep our hearts right. We all know it is the province of the vice-president in this instance to publish the notice of the election, and his duty in that connection, of course, ends there. The voters determine all else. Members of the Board of Directors, as such, have absolutely nothing to do with the selection of their successors or the election itself. The discussion pro and con, therefore, dear brethren, I think has been out of place, but let us not say anything harshly about each other. If a brother oversteps the bounds of ethics, let it be considered an error of judgment and not of heart. 'Let brotherly love continue.'

"Much may depend upon what is done on January 4th. When we come to render an account to the Lord may no one have occasion to regret what he has said or done here. Therefore let each one before speaking or acting solemnly ask the Lord to help him in every word and act. Let the love of God rule in every heart, and whatever you may decide to do, dear brethren, know this, that I love each and every one of you very dearly. My great desire for you and for myself and my associates is that we may soon be ushered into the glories of the Lord. Anything that would hinder the consummation of such a hope should be strenuously avoided. The kingdom and its blessing is the only thing worth while. The approval of men is a snare. The approval of the Lord is to be desired above all else. To have His approval now may cost us much pain and suffering, but soon such will be ended forever. 'By love serve one another.'

"'Let each esteem the other better than himself,' and count it a privilege to make a sacrifice for the other. Let us avoid all things that would aid our great enemy — Satan — or tend towards division, or jeopardize us in our future work, Unfeigned love will bind together the hearts of His people. I will be with you in spirit and will remember you especially during your deliberations on the 4th of January.


"Very lovingly your brother and servant in bonds for Christ's sake,


After Brother Plaenker offered a few comments, Brother C. A. Wise presented a motion (which was carried) that a recess be taken for one hour. Upon being reconvened it was moved and seconded and unanimously carried that the remarks of all the speakers be limited to five minutes. Brother C. E. Stewart, of St. Paul, Minn., said in part: ". . . With respect to the remarks of our Brother Hudgings (not being acquainted with him personally, but speaking from the standpoint of principle) three times our dear brother referred to those who carried the responsibility for the past three or four months as weaklings. I desire to say, oh behalf of myself and Brother Spill (as his associate in years past), I know that he has borne responsibility. . . . Did it require courage of Brother Rutherford? Did it require courage of Brother Spill to step in at a time he did? Yes! Brother Rutherford was fearless! Indeed! Can we not equally say of the one who has taken the responsibility falling from Brother Rutherford's shoulders that he was also fearless? He has exhibited before all the world, and the friends of spirit of fearlessness, both to know and to do the will of the Lord."

The election at this time is the step immediately before us, and we can cover the point of repudiation by such means as this: To elect seven directors — two of whom would be Brothers Rutherford and Van Amburgh (which I understand is entirely legal). By doing this, brethren, we would not be repudiating before the world these dear brethren; but I rather think we would stand for them. We would place in the hands of six brethren the work of the present time, so that the Lord's work shall go forward. It seems to me that it is the Society's work that we want to take care of at this time. (Applause.)

Brother Geo. S. Kendall, Washington, Pa.: I voice very strongly the sentiments of our dear Brother Stewart.

Brother Wise: I move that we proceed to cast our vote on the motion. (Re-postponement.)

Brother Work: I second the motion.

Brother Miller: I move that we have counsel with our attorneys at this time.

Brother Thompson; Are the counsel members of the Society? Have the lawyers any voice on the floor at this particular meeting? If they have, we would, of course, like to hear from them. If not — interrupted by


Brother Miller: That is what they were invited here for.

Brother Thompson: No one has authority to invite them except the Society.

Chairman: It is our impression they were invited here for the purpose of hearing from them, therefore I think we ought to hear from our attorneys before we proceed with Brother Wise's motion.

Brother Thompson: I will have to ask the chair to put the matter to a vote of the shareholders of the Society — whether or not they shall hear from the lawyers. I move that the shareholders decide whether the lawyers shall be heard from in answer to any question put forth.

Brother Page: I move we substitute that with "Meeting, as assembled, request the attorneys to give us their judgment on this matter."

Brother Thompson: The motion cannot be substituted without the withdrawal of the first motion just made and seconded. . . As a matter of principle, I would say the lawyers have no right to speak. I would think that whatever they have to say should be said through our chairman. The chairman is the speaker of the house. The chairman is the one who can tell us what the lawyers tells him. What they have already told us can be summed up in a few words. I could say it in about ten words; and this would likewise be true of the chairman. Therefore, I ask that the chair state whatever the lawyers have told me; that ought to be sufficient for us all. (Applause.)

Chairman: The chair cannot present the matter before you as the attorneys can. We have no one else to do it like they can.

Brother Thompson: ... I am raising a point of principle. They have no right to speak on the floor, and unless the gathering defeats my motion they can't speak on the floor. That is settled by the motion. We can very readily ask the chair a certain question, and the chair could answer it "yes" or "no," because the lawyers told us very plainly last night (the meeting assembled at Bethel office, at which the Pilgrims, etc., were present). . ."

Chairman: We have been instructed by the lawyers that we will have to vote on the substitutionary motion which is before the house. As I stated in the beginning, I have had no experience in conducting such a large meeting, and therefore in order to carry it on orderly we have Mr. Sparks and Mr. Fuller — our attorneys — to advise me in the matter. (Applause.) Now the substitutionary motion is in order.

Brother Page: I make that a form of an amendment, therefore this will avoid objection.

Brother Thompson: I take exception.

Chairman: (After consultation with lawyers.) A substitutionary motion as an amendment is proper. Now the motion is — interrupted by

Brother Thompson: The motion, Brother Anderson, need not be put. . . . My motion is really on a point of order (which action is right at any time). If the chair wants to put it to the friends, he may. It is simply this: I move that no one shall speak on the floor of this meeting, except he be one of the voters or proxy holders of the Society.

Chairman: That motion has been amended.

Brother Thompson: I wish to submit that no amendment that completely nullifies another motion is in order.

Chairman: In this case you are wrong.

. . . Chairman: Our attorneys say they will not address the audience until they are requested to do so by the audience. Now Brother Page's motion is in order.

Brother Page: My motion was as a substitute that the shareholders and proxy holders invite the attorneys to give us the information that we may ask.

(THE VOTE SHOWED that 112 were against 60.)

. . . Brother Thompson: The motion that is still before the house is that we postpone the election six months. I have now received word about this matter of having the lawyers speak. . . . There are no motions entertainable now until we take Brother Hudging's motion and table it or act upon it. Anyone can speak who is a shareholder. In addition to that the audience here have requested certain information from the lawyers. Nothing else is pertinent now. . . .

Brother Hudgings: I move that we take a recess of about twenty minutes in order to give the tellers time to | arrange for the counting of the proxies, etc.

(The vote indicated that the majority opposed the motion.)

(The meeting was then thrown open for the privilege of asking questions of the attorneys.)

Brother Page: I am led to understand that we are not in a position at present to legally transact the financial necessity of the business; that there is no one legally qualified in power to carry on the financial end of this work. Am I right in this understanding?

Attorney Sparks: Brother Page, the Society is operating with a Board of Directors, having full power to act for the Society in every legal way.

Brother Thompson: I respectfully submit that the lawyers are wrong. Nobody now is legally authorized to sign a check. They are liable to go to the penitentiary.

. . . Audience: Certain communications have gone forth, over the signature of "Sparks and Fuller and Stricker," indicating that certain things were admissible in connection with the election, etc. The question is: Do you therein express your best judgment in connection therewith? The letters read as follows:

"Dr. L. C. WORK, 143 Montague St., Brooklyn, N. Y. — Dear Sir: We beg to advise that if it appear to the members of the W. T. B. & T. Society, assembled at the annual meeting at Pittsburgh on the first Saturday of January, 1919, that it is inadvisable at that time to elect officers for the year, it will be within the lawful rights and powers of such meeting to declare a recess, until such time as such meeting deems wise, for the completion of the work of such meeting and the election of officers; and that a resolution to this effect will be a valid execution of the powers of said meeting, to determine when and how the election of officers should proceed. We are of the opinion that an adjournment without election of officers will be quite legal and proper. We would advise, however, the taking of a recess so that the annual meeting shall remain unadjourned until reconvened at the time appointed, will be a more satisfactory way of deferring action upon the matter of electing officers — Very truly yours, (signed) SPARKS, FULLER & STRICKER. Per Jesse Fuller, Jr. Dated Dec. 7, 1918."

"DR. L. C. WORK, 143 Montague St., Brooklyn, N. Y. — Dear Sir: We write in reply to your inquiry as to whether or not the conviction last June in the Federal Court under the espionage act of Messrs. J. F. Rutherford, W. E. Van Amburgh, R. J. Martin, R H. Robinson, G. H. Fisher, C. J. Woodworth, A H. MacMillan, G. De Cecca, affects the legal right of the members of the W. T. B. & T. Society to re-elect any of these gentlemen to the position of officer or director of the Society, now held by some of them — or their legal right to continue to hold such positions. Having examined into the question, we beg to advise that we are of the opinion that the members of the W. T. B. & T. Society have an unquestionable legal right to re-elect any of these gentlemen to the positions which they now hold at the annual meeting which we understand is to be held in January; and that upon election they can hold such positions wholly free from any disqualifications in law by reason of the judgment of conviction. Yours very truly (signed) F. H. SPARKS, JESSE FULLER, JR. — Dec. 6, 1918."

Attorney Sparks: That expresses our opinion.

Brother Page: Would it not vindicate our brethren in bonds if they were re-elected as members of the board fully as much as to pass them over without an election?

Attorney Sparks: Only having been invited to answer legal questions, my answer cannot be given to that as a legal answer; since it is not a legal question (Applause.)

Brother Thompson: May I ask whether an election, if held today, of the directors and officers, would have any legal effect upon the appeal now pending?

Attorney Sparks: No, I do not believe a strict matter of law would be effected by any action that this assembly takes today; either to recess or to elect officers or directors. This from this standpoint would not effect the ap-


peal which is now pending — as a legal proposition. (Applause.)

. . . Brother Planker: If Brothers Rutherford and Van Amburgh were elected today as officers of the Association, could they, during the term of their imprisonment, discharge the duties of that office?

Attorney Sparks: If they are legally elected they can legally discharge the duties of office. I suppose you refer to whether they can have physical ability to sign certain documents. That is purely a matter of a prison regulation. I am not familiar with the prison regulations at Atlanta. But from a legal standpoint, the legally elected officers of your Society can legally do anything that the law provides, providing the legal authorities at the prison will let them do so.

Audience: Would the election of our Brothers J. F. Rutherford and W. E. Van Amburgh make it possible for the officers of the Society, as representing the Society, to be held as joint conspirators, continuing a conspiracy, this making them liable for prosecution as joint conspirators?

Attorney Fuller: Not unless the courts were to hold that the W. T. B. & T. Society is a conspiracy. (Laughter.)

. . . Brother Nelson: What attitude would the Government take on having an election at the present time (leaving out the friends at Atlanta)?

Attorney Sparks: If you mean the effect the election would have upon the Government in releasing them, I would say that in the first place the Government has no right to release them. They are under the sentence of Court. The Government has no right, except through pardoning them, and only by release of judgment of the higher court.

Brother Planker: I would like to ask whether the present Board of Directors has any legal authority to appoint representatives to act for them during the coming year, unless they are re-elected today?

Attorney Sparks: So long as the present Board of Directors hold over (if this assembly should decide to adjourn the election) the directors will have the same right to appoint acting representatives as they did last year.

Brother Thompson: Brother Anderson, will you please ask Mr. Sparks under what authority of the by-laws of the Society can any officer or director of the Society delegate his authority to another?

Attorney Sparks: I have not said that any director has the right to delegate his authority to another — as a director. He has no right to step down and say I appoint and order so and so in my place; but the Board of Directors — or a majority — have the right to delegate certain officials to incidental powers for the carrying out of the work of the Society.

Audience: Would it be correct, proper or legal for this convention here assembled to appoint proxies to act for the present board — those who may be restrained of their liberty — until such recess comes to a conclusion?

Attorney Sparks: No, it would not.

Audience: I would like to ask if those who have been acting as officers were appointed by the majority of the board? If so, could they legally act?

Attorney Sparks: Certainly. The vice-president, Mr. Anderson, has been acting according to the by-laws.

Chairman: Those who were appointed to take the place of those who resigned were elected by the majority of the board. In fact, it was unanimous.

Audience: I may be wrong in my understanding of the statement made from the floor that there exists no one at the present time as an officer of the Society who is qualified to sign a check. I would like to ask our attorneys if this is correct.

Attorney Sparks: I can't answer that question directly. But presupposing the fact that the treasurer of the Society, who was elected at the last meeting, is one of your members now in the South, under such circumstances and for practical purposes the Board of Directors would have a right to appoint a person and designate him as they see fit to sign checks for the Society. You could not deprive a corporation or an association of its power to act and live by incarcerating four officers of the company in jail. That is an apparent and reasonable proposition that no one could dissent from.

Attorney Fuller: I would like to say in further answer to the question that the amendment of the by-laws you adopted today introduces the assistant treasurer, who is directly empowered by the by-laws to perform action with the consent of the Board of Directors of the Society, so that the question could not possibly arise under the by-laws as amended and accepted today.

Chairman: That was done at a full meeting of the Board of Directors. Brother Stevenson was elected assistant secretary with all the powers that the secretary and treasurer had.

Brother Graham: Is it the legal opinion of our attorneys that the best interests of the dear brethren confined at Atlanta would be served by a postponement or recess taken at this time?

Mr. Sparks: That is not a legal question and will only be answered in view of the wording of the resolution which was passed, and under which I am speaking to you upon request of the entire board. (Applause.)

Audience: We want that question answered. We want to vote that the lawyers answer Brother Graham's question.

Brother Graham: I move that our attorneys be given the privilege of expressing their legal opinion.

Brother Thompson: We have already decided upon that matter.

Chairman: Don't get us mixed up.

Brother Thompson: The motion that we all decided on was that we would permit the lawyers to answer questions bearing on the legal phase of the situation from our dear friends the attorneys. This is not a legal question.

Mr. Sparks: There can be no other motion come before the chair until other motions already made are acted upon.

Audience: 1 am wondering whether such technical points of order and legal rules is the Lord's will. It seems to me that anything which may be put in our possession to help us decide the Lord's will is proper before the convention, and that is the vital question to the conventioners. I would like to have the questions answered.

Attorney Sparks: It has to be done by amendment to the motion under which we are speaking.

Brother Graham: I make an amendment to Brother Page's motion that the attorneys be permitted to answer that question.

Brother Thompson: How can that be put?

Chairman: I don't know. (Laughter.)

Brother Page: We have never gone through these meetings before with such quibbles about that which is "parliamentary" and what is not. We never have had it at any other election. Now if the friends want to know an answer, let them have it (Applause.)

(Upon vote the motion was carried unanimously.)

Chairman: . . . We will have Mr. Sparks or Mr. Fuller answer the question.

Attorney Fuller: Yes, it will unquestionably be for their best interests; and we will invite any cross-examination or question that anyone desires to put to us as to why we entertain that opinion.

Brother Hudgings: I would like to know why the adjournment of this election would be of benefit to the brethren in bonds?

Attorney Fuller: It will first of all dishearten the men to know that the Society has declined to change its relation to the eight men while they were in prison. It will show the people of the United States that the Society has said that if these men are guilty the Society is guilty. The reason for the incarceration of these eight men was summarized by the Court, and it is a condemnation of the religious doctrines of the Society as much as it is a condemnation of the men who officially represented the Society:

"THE COURT: In the opinion of the Court, the religious propaganda which these defendants vigorously advocated and spread throughout the nation, as well as among our lives, is a greater danger than a division of the German army. If they had taken guns and swords and joined together the Germany army,


the harm they could have done would have been insignificant compared with the results of their propaganda.

These men received a twenty year sentence and they were stamped as dangerous to this country. That is either true or false. If it is false they will be released. If it is true it is a condemnation of the religious doctrines of your Society. If you do not change the leaders of your Society while in jail under an unjust condemnation, you are identifying yourselves with them, and the public — the people of the United States — will so construe your action. It would be an expression of confidence in the propriety and truthfulness of your beliefs not at this time to force these men from their relation to your Society. When the judgment is reversed and they come back . . . and if you believe they were false exponents of your doctrine, it is your duty to express that belief. It is the belief of your counsel that your action upon this question will be the determining factor with the sentiment of this country in their conclusion as to whether truly or falsely expresses the doctrines of the Bible students, for which they have been convicted, and it is to this extent that public sentiment supports the proposition that it was an outrage, to the extent that sentiment of the country supports the conviction that that action of yours — inducing that sentiment — will favor the welfare of the defendants. (Applause.)

Audience: Suppose that this assembly today elects Brother Rutherford and Brother Van Amburgh, would that not overcome the objection?

Attorney Fuller: If the only question that you are considering was the welfare of the eight men, I should say yes. But you also have to consider the welfare of your Society. You must contemplate the possibility of this remarkable judgment in this trial, and contemplate the possibility that it might not be reversed and the possibility that these men might serve twenty years in jail. If they did serve twenty years in jail, or even one full year, the exigencies which confront your Society would demand that you deal with the validity of the judgment of conviction. At the present it expresses the legal view of but one man in the hundred million citizens — Judge Harland B. Howe, When it comes to the Appellate Court and affirmed there, and perhaps affirmed in the United States Supreme Court (which is a possibility you must conceive) it might be absolutely essential that you elect officials to that extent. . . . So that pending the appeal if the Society did not act but left itself present to act after the appeal, this would leave the situation in a condition whereby you were demonstrating your continued loyalty and expressing your view that they were sound exponents of your religious doctrines and those doctrines were proper. And at the same time you would be preserving freedom which might, during the coming year, have to be exercised for the benefit of the Society.

Brother Sexton: I just arrived. My train was forty-eight hours late, having been snowbound. I have something to say and for my own comfort I better say it now. My dear brethren, I have come here, as the balance of you have, with certain ideas in mind — pro and con. We might say, with all due respect to our legal friends, that we have been talking to some other lawyers. I find they are very much like doctors. They disagree sometimes. But I presume what I say will be in perfect agreement with what they have said. There is no legal obstacle in the way. If we desire to re-elect our brethren in the South to any office they can hold, I cannot see. or find from any advice I have received, how this will, in any shape or form, interfere with the aspect of their case before the Federal Court or before the public.

I believe that the greatest compliment we can pay to our dear brother Rutherford would be to re-elect him as president of the W. T. B. & T. Society. I do not think there is any question in the mind of the public as to where we stand on the proposition. If our brethren in any way technically violated a law they did not understand, we know their motives are good. And before Almighty they have neither violated any law of God or of man. We could manifest the greatest confidence if we re-elected Brother Rutherford as president of the Association.

I am not a lawyer, but when it comes to the legality of the situation I know something about the law of the loyal. Loyalty is what God demands. I cannot imagine any greater confidence we could manifest than to have an election AND RE-ELECT BROTHER RUTHERFORD AS PRESIDENT.

After recess Brother W. F. Hudgings withdrew his motion for a six months' recess, in that it was clear that a vast majority favored an election and that there was not the SLIGHTEST DOUBT AS TO THE RE-ELECTION OF OUR DEAR BROTHER AND PRESIDENT, J. F. RUTHERFORD, in the minds of the shareholders.

The shareholders then proceeded with the nominations for directors.

Brother Sexton: It gives me great pleasure in presenting to your attention as nominees for the officers:

Brother J. F. Rutherford.Brother W. F. Hudgings.
Brother Van Amburgh.Brother E. J. Coward.
Brother C. H. Anderson.Brother R. H. Barber.

Brother Bohnet: I want to suggest to the dear friends that I looked over the suggested list and heartily endorse the same. I would esteem it a pleasure and gratification on my part that if there were any votes intended for me I would be very glad if they were thrown over to Brother Rutherford instead of my place.

Other nominations:

Brother Spill.Brother G. S. Kendall.
Brother Thompson.Brother H. Reimer.
Brother Stevenson.Brother Crist.

Nominations closed by unanimous vote.


Brother Thompson then presented report of tellers:

The seven highest were as follows:

J. F. Rutherford112,000
C. A. Wise 111,712
R. H. Barber97,828
W. E. Van Amburgh88,307
W. E. Spill84,148
W. F. Hudgings75,942
C. H. Anderson70,113

Brother Sexton: I was appointed as chairman of the nominating committee, and as such I wish to hand in, or put in, the following names for officers of our Society, naturally believing in my heart that the best interests of the Society would be preserved by the selection:

President — Brother J. F. Rutherford.

Vice-president — Brother C. A. Wise.

Secretary-Treasurer — Brother W. E. Van Amburgh.

Brother Page: I don't know that it is necessary, but I had the pleasure last year of nominating Brother Rutherford as president. It gives me great pleasure to second this nomination — as well as the others.

Unanimously voted that the nomination be closed.

The ballot was then cast by Brother Thompson.

Brother Anderson: I am certainly delighted! And I am sure you are, too! We believe it to be fully the Lord's will! Brother Russell, you remember, always said, in taking the vote — and after the majority had decided upon which way the matter should run — that we always make it unanimous. Let us take a rising vote, making the present elected ones — as officers — a unanimous one. (Unanimous.)

Vice-president, Bro. C. A. Wise: Beloved, I appreciate the privilege and honor placed upon me. I assure you that anything that I might say would be expressed in a manner that would fall far short of what I desire to express. And for anyone to enter upon the duties that evolve upon the vice-president, under this particular time, it would, it seems to me, be the height of folly. We could only enter upon these duties on the assurance that everyone here will agree each day to remember us all at the Throne of Heavenly Grace. How many agree to that? (Unanimous.)

So we promise, by the assisting grace of our Heavenly Father, and our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and your prayers in co-operation, that we shall endeavor to carry out the wishes of our dear pastor so far as it lies without our power. (Applause.)

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