A REPLY TO THE PAPER CALLED "LIGHT AFTER DARKNESS"
distribution but sent free on request)
WITH one accord, I believe, all the consecrated will agree that our great Adversary would be pleased to have us occupy our time in the discussion of our differences, to the neglect of the Harvest work, especially as the Harvest work is drawing to a close and greater efforts in that direction must be put forth.
All of us are inclined to exclaim. "How strange that we should have such trials in the Church now!" Then we are reminded of the words of St. Peter, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning this fire among you." (1 Peter 4:12.) It will require calmness, sobriety of mind, purity of heart and an increased measure of the Lord's Spirit to weather the storm. The Lord will supply all the needed grace to those who keep in mind the ultimate purpose of our warfare. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and everything that can be shaken will now be shaken. (Hebrews 12:26-23.) Our great desire is to enter into that Kingdom. Uppermost in the mind of every Christian should be the thought, What can I do to insure my gaining that great prize?
To say that any of us are free from mistakes is not in keeping with the truth. We are all imperfect, and. the judgment of everyone is more or less warped. Surely it is due time for us to heed the words of the Apostle, "Above all things, have fervent [overspreading] love amongst yourselves, for love covers a multitude of defects."
"Light after Darkness" is a misnomer for a paper issued by Brothers Hirsh, Hoskins, Wright and Ritchie, and is not in fact a reply to HARVEST SIFTINGS. I shall refer to it herein as "Opponents' Paper," having in mind the brethren who prepared and published it. Among them are not included Brother A. N. Pierson, because, as I am advised, he had no part in the publication of said paper. When it was ready to be published he was asked for his signature, but refused to sign it, and stated he would have nothing more to do with their publications, or words to that effect It will be observed, however, that a letter formerly issued at Boston and containing the name of Brother Pierson was so adroitly arranged at the conclusion of "Opponents' Paper" as to lead the unsuspecting to believe that said document had been signed and issued by Brother Pierson. The authors of the "Opponents' Paper," with freedom of speech declare that HARVEST SIFTINGS contains no less than one hundred untruthful charges and misleading statements, and since there are much less than half that number of points discussed in HARVEST SIFTINGS, it follows that the authors of "Opponents' Paper" place myself, Brothers Van Amburgh, Hudgings, Macmillan, Wisdom, Cohen, Herr, Hemery, Warden, McCloy, MacKenzie and members of the Bethel family in the Annanias Club. The rashness of such a charge must be apparent to all who look at the facts from an unbiased viewpoint I am reminded that St. Jude said that even our Lord did not bring a railing accusation against Satan, but contented Himself by saying, The Lord rebuke thee," — Jude 9.
THE REAL ISSUE
Let us look for a moment at the real issue in this matter. The issue is not Brother Van Amburgh and Brother Rutherford vs. the others named — far from it. We have nothing against any of those brothers, but would be glad to help them.
Neither is the issue whether they were put out as members of the Board of Directors in a proper or improper manner, because they were not legal members of the Board, and therefore could not be put out. The President has no power to put anyone off the Board. I never attempted such a thing. There were four vacancies on the Board, and the Charter provides that the President, after these vacancies have existed for thirty days, shall appoint proper persons to fill such vacancies. That is all I did. The reasons for making the appointments are set forth in HARVEST SIFTINGS, pages 16 and 17.
Neither is the issue whether or not the Directors were Brother Russell's Directors and whether the present Board are Brother Rutherford's Directors. Brother Russell never had a Board of Directors. I have none. The Directors of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY hold office by reason of the law of the State of Pennsylvania and the Charter of the Corporation. Brother Russell's Will did not came any person as a member of the Board of Directors.
The real issue is, Was the President justified in appointing four members of the Board of Directors, which he did on the 12th day of July, 1917, to fill vacancies then existing, and to hold office until the next annual election to be held by the Shareholders on the 5th day of January, 1918? Anything aside from the facts bearing upon this question beclouds the issue. The paper published by our opposing brethren seeks to bring in a great many other things which have nothing to do with the real issue, but which have a tendency to confuse. They even attempt to show that some of us are criminals and should be sent to jail because of the action taken to safeguard the interests of the friends generally. Not in defense of myself do I publish this statement of explanation, but that those who desire an explanation may have it. To this end, and that the side issues may be eliminated and that the friends may see the real situation, I am making this reply, which will be sent to those who wish it.
Having reviewed in HARVEST SIFTINGS the facts leading up to the action taken by myself, I now here call attention to some of the statements made in the "Opponents' Paper" relating to the facts in connection therewith, and let everyone of you determine whether or not I am "a liar," a "usurper", and am "grasping for power", as I have been charged. Personally, the charge does not effect me, but I have been reminded by some of the brethren that my position is more or less a public one, hence it is due others that I make this statement. First let us dispose of some of the side issues before examining the real issue.
BROTHER RUSSELL'S WILL AND CHARTER
The "Opponent* Paper" charges (page 3, second column) that "Brother Russell had not been dead more than a few days when his Will was declared to be illegal, and therefore not binding." The evident purpose was to convey the thought that I am the guilty one. I here state that I have never declared Brother Russell's Will illegal and therefore not binding. The only question ever raised about Brother Russell's Will was concerning his voting shares, the facts of which are clearly set forth on page 19, column 2 of HARVEST SIFTINGS, which it is not here necessary to repeat.
Some were disappointed when they heard Brother Russell's Will read; I was not among that class. Shortly thereafter Brother Hirsh began to sound out the friends to see what would be the sentiment with reference to setting aside Brother Russell's Will. In proof of this I submit herewith the affidavit of two witnesses:
State of New York) ss
County of Kings )
WE, the undersigned, Mrs. J. B. Walbach and Miss Mary B. Walbach, both of Brooklyn, New York, do voluntarily make the following statement under oath:
That on or about Nov. 2d, 1916, about two days following Brother Russell's death and prior to the arrival of his body in Brooklyn, Brother R. H. Hirsh came out of the Bethel Home and joined as on the opposite side of the street and walked with us two blocks, during which time he made the following remarks in our presence; the time being about 2.30 in the afternoon, following the reading of our dear Pastor's Will in the Bethel Dining-Room at the noon meal. He said:
The above quotation is as nearly verbatim as it is possible for us to recall The conversation is quite clear in our minds as it made a lasting impression on us both. We felt appalled that Brother Hirsh, or anyone else, should be discussing or even thinking about such matters at such a time, even before our beloved Pastor had been buried. When he asked us if we did not agree with him that something should be done to break Brother Russell's Will we merely replied that we had nothing to say about it. He was much exercised, and it was readily apparent that he was grieved over not having been mentioned in the Will as a regular member of the Editorial Committee instead of being only named as a substitute. He declared to us that three of the Committee should be asked to resign.
MARY B. WALBACH
Subscribed and sworn to before me
this 1st day of October, A. D., 1917.
OSCAR L. OBERG
(My commission expires March, 1918.)
WILL AND CHARTER JUGGLED
"Opponents' Paper" has so juggled the Will of Brother Russell, the Charter of the Corporation, and the paper written in 1894 by Brother Russell, as to confuse in the minds of the reader the whole matter, and anyone not familiar with these papers is apt to be misled.
The Charter, of course, provides for a Board of Directors. but not one of the opposers is named in that Charter, nor did Brother Russell ever name them, or any one of them, as Directors in his Will or in any document he has ever written. Brother Russell's Will only incidentally mentions that "The SOCIETY'S Board of Directors shall make proper provision for the Editorial Committee." No one is named in his Will as a member of the Board of Directors. Why, then, should these brethren continually hold before your eyes the thought that the President has set aside Brother Russell's Board of Directors? Nothing is further from the real truth.
Time and again they quote from a booklet issued by Brother Russell in 1894, more than twenty-three years ago, at which time he was calling attention to why he and his wife, Mrs. Russell, should control the SOCIETY. Therein he said. "Their [the Directors] usefulness it was understood would come to the front in the event of my death." When he wrote these words he had no thought of either Brothers Ritchie, Wright, Hoskins or Hirsh. because at that time none of them were connected with the SOCIETY. These words do not occur in Brother Russell's Will, nor in the Charter; then it is manifestly unfair that an attempt is made to try to incorporate these words in Brother Russell's Will, or in the Charter.
Another evidence of unfairness is clearly manifest by the statement on page 5, column 1 in "Opponents' Paper", There they quote extracts from the Will of Brother Russell and from the Charter with the evident purpose of trying to show that they were in the mind of Brother Russell at the time he wrote his Will, and that he was safeguarding them against a spirit of ambition, or pride, or headship. By carefully reading it you will see that the first quotation from his Will refers to the fact that he was to have control of THE WATCH TOWER and other publications during his life. This had no reference whatsoever to the management of the detailed affairs of the SOCIETY. It will be noted that the quotations from the Will refer in express terms to the Editorial Committee and have no reference whatsoever to the Directors, for the manifest reason that Brother Russell knew that no one person can name and provide for the Directors of a corporation. After quoting these statements from the Will with reference to the Editorial Committee, then the "Opponents* Paper" proceeds to draw a conclusion, saying, "Thus it will be seen that after Brother Russell's death the Board of Directors became his successors in the control of the SOCIETY'S affairs," whereas not one word in the Will even intimated such a thing.
Permit me to say here that I have never for one moment denied or even questioned the right of the Board of Directors to control the affairs of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. The Board of Directors are now in control, but there is a vast difference between being in control and managing the details of the work of a corporation. My position has always been, and now is, that the four brethren in question were not legally members of the Board of Directors in July of this year, and because of their avowed threat and purpose to disrupt and disorganize the work, I exercised the power which the law and the Lord had placed in my hands to appoint members of the Board of Directors who would work in harmony and for the SOCIETY'S general welfare. Had the four brethren continued in a quiet, orderly manner to perform their duties, and had not manifested a disposition to disrupt the work and made threats that they would tie up the funds by law suits and wreck the SOCIETY, there would never have been any attempt even to call in question the legality of their office. The step was taken only as a last resort and as a safeguard until there could be an election held by the Shareholders, and a Board elected. I have set forth in HARVEST SIFTINGS, particularly on page 16, the moving cause for appointing the four members of the Board.
"Opponents' Paper", page 4, paragraph 21, says, "The purpose of the Directors wishing to amend the By-laws was not that the four members of the Board might take over the control of the SOCIETY, but that the Board might be restored to its proper position according to Brother Russell's Will and Charter." Again we reiterate that Brother Russell's Will did not name a single one of the four as members of the Board of Directors, nor did he attempt to do that which he could not do. namely, provide in his Will for a Board of Directors The Charter, of course, provides for an organized Board for the SOCIETY, which the SOCIETY now has, and which in fact is in control of the affairs of the SOCIETY, and which is working in harmony with the Shareholders' wishes and the policy followed by the SOCIETY for the past thirty-three years, namely, that the President shall be the executive officer and general manager, subject, of course, to the control of the Board of Directors, and the Board subject to the control of the Shareholders.
"Opponents' Paper", in an attempt to convey the thought that I am an autocrat, in a bold headline on page 5, says. "Brother Rutherford's By-Laws Passed." We sometimes wonder why men can so far forget themselves in making statements! Why do they have such a lapse of memory? With stronger reason should brethren in the Truth speak in harmony with the facts.
Shortly before Brother Russell's death he had stated that he desired to put the SOCIETY more particularly on an efficiency basis, and that all who remained at Bethel should be able to render and should render efficient service. Such facts were brought to the attention of the Executive Committee, which was composed of Brothers Ritchie, Van Amburgh and myself. We discussed the matter and decided to ask the Shareholders to pass some by-laws at Pittsburgh, proceeding upon the theory that the voice of the people, the Shareholders, should be heard. Accordingly, I was requested by the other members of the Executive Committee, presumably because I am a lawyer by profession, to draw up such by-laws and submit them to Brothers Van Amburgh and Ritchie, which they fully approved. Brother Ritchie, as Chairman of the Annual Meeting at Pittsburgh, appointed a committee of three brethren to examine and report to the convention these by-laws and resolutions. He carried these by-laws to Pittsburgh
and by his own hand delivered them to the committee. When the committee returned I asked if I might see their report. Now note the discrepancy between the statement of "Opponents' Paper" and the real facts. "Opponents' Paper" deliberately states that I had a well laid plan to get control of the affairs of the SOCIETY, and that by threats and intimidation I forced the committee to report a by-law giving me control. The facts are, not one word was said about that section which refers to the executive officer and manager of the corporation, and the word "control" does not even appear in the by-laws. The bylaws, as drafted, provided that the President might appoint an Advisory Committee of three to advise him upon such matters as he might desire. The committee on resolutions had changed this by-law to read that the Board of Directors, and not the President, should appoint the Advisory Committee. This was the only question discussed between myself and the committee. Neither the law nor the Charter provides for any Advisory Committee whatsoever, but I thought it well that anyone who succeeded Brother Russell in office as President should have the benefit of wise counsel from other consecrated Shareholders, either in or outside of the Board, to whom he could refer any matters of importance, and that therefore the President alone should be privileged to select his advisors. If you desire to employ a lawyer, you wish to have the choosing of that lawyer, if you desire to employ a physician, you desire to select the physician, because it involves you personally. On the same theory, if the President needed and wished advice he alone should be privileged to select his advisors. Thus I argued with the Committee and they agreed with me. Brothers Ritchie, Hirsh and Wright were present and heard this discussion, and they know that my statement here is the exact truth. Why they have had such a lapse of memory I am not able to state. I append herewith the statement of a member of the Committee on By-laws who was present and who corroborates my statement, and which shows that the charge that I was attempting to get control is absolutely untrue:
LETTER FROM MEMBER OF COMMITTEE
"MR. J. F. RUTHERFORD,
"DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST: — In reading the paper 'Light after Darkness' I am sorry to see matters put in such an unfair way by the authors.
"In the first article, 'Our Present Counselor', the qualities of justice and mercy seem to me to be sadly lacking. I cannot help wondering if the author believes the words of the Master in Matt. 7:2, 'With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.' and if so, why he should wish the Lord to deal so unmercifully with him.
"I also see that the By-laws passed by the members of the SOCIETY at the election last January are mentioned in a way that would convey to the mind of the reader that you had demanded many changes to be made so as to put more power into your hands. You perhaps remember what the point of difference was. It was not whether the President should be the Executive Officer or whether there should be an Advisory Committee, — these things had been passed upon. It was merely as to who should appoint the Advisory Committee. The By-laws provided that the Secretary and Treasurer should always be a member of the Advisory Committee, and two others to be appointed. The thought of the committee on by-laws was, that these two members should be appointed by the Board of Directors, while your thought was, that as this committee was to be the President's Advisory Committee, that the President should appoint these two members of the Committee. One of the members of the Board of Directors (possibly more) was present at that time and he agreed with you on the matter, and the committee then made the change, giving the President authority to appoint these two members of his Advisory Committee.
"This was before the election, and had some one else been elected it would have applied to him just the same as to you.
"The bringing up of this matter of the By-laws has helped us to form a better estimate of the value of the remainder of 'Light after Darkness, and make a large discount.
"I wish to say, dear Brother Rutherford, that I still believe that 'The Lord of the Harvest' has full control of the situation, and that He is amply able to direct the work, yes, even without the aid of a Board of Directors at all. I believe that the Lord makes no mistakes, and I am sure that if the Lord wanted these four brethren to direct the affairs of the SOCIETY, that there is no power in Heaven or on earth that could hinder their doing so.
"The words of the poet express my confidence and the desire of my heart in this and all things:
Thy great Provider still is near;
Who led thee last will lead thee still;
Be calm, and sink into His will.'
"May the Lord continue to bless you in the service, and grant you the needed strength to finish the great work that the Lord has placed in your hands, is the earnest prayer of,
"Yours in the service of the Master,
At a meeting of the Board of Directors following the annual meeting, these by-laws were passed by the Board of Directors because that is the technical and legal requirement of the Charter. Then you might ask, why were they presented to the Shareholders? I answer, because the Shareholders constitute the Corporation, and while, technically, the power to enact by-laws resides in the Board, yet everyone should desire to abide by the voice of the majority of the Shareholders, believing that the Lord would speak through them. We are all familiar with the time-honored statement, "The voice of the people is the supreme law." It is recognized that Congress alone has the right to pass laws, and yet Congress must respond to the voice of the people who are, in fact, the Government. On the same principle, the Board of Directors of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY would have no moral right to utterly disregard the wishes of the Shareholders. These bylaws passed were not my by-laws but the by-laws of the SOCIETY, first approved by the Shareholders, and then passed by the Board of Directors. Their enactment constituted a solemn compact which should be binding on the parties unless their enactment was procured by fraud or coercion. The brethren in question seem to think it necessary to charge me with fraud and coercion in order to show some excuse for their trying to set aside the wishes of the Shareholders. At the time of the passage of these by-laws Brother Hirsh was not on the Board, but later he joined three others with the avowed purpose of trampling under foot the wishes of the Shareholders, trying to repeal the bylaws which were passed without question, and take the management of the SOCIETY'S affairs out of the President's hands and put it into the hands of the "four" to manage the same. I have never attempted at any time to get control of the SOCIETY. I have merely diligently tried to perform the duties of manager, and there is no corporation in the land, of any consequence, but what has a manager aside from the Board of Directors. None of the four brethren, or any others to my knowledge, have found fault with my management, or shown any instances of mismanagement.
The PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION Charter gives the executive absolute control. I have stated heretofore why that Charter was thus written. I have asked the Board of Directors of that corporation to provide for an Executive Committee of four to perform certain duties with reference to the control of the Bethel Home and office, but this does not in any manner effect the office of the President as General Manager, There must be one head to every institution. I am free to confess many might have been found to perform this duty better than myself, but since I had nothing to do with putting myself in office it can hardly be consistently charged that I am responsible for being there.
REMOVAL FROM PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION
On the 3lst of July Brothers Hirsh and Hoskins were removed from the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION for good cause. In this connection "Opponents' Paper" charges that other brethren and myself are "guilty of criminal offenses, subject to criminal indictment and to swift and severe punishment." The evident purpose of this is to create prejudice in the minds of the friends against us, and to shew that we brethren are high-handed lawbreakers. Now, if the brethren really believe this charge, they should at once cease to address either of us as "brother." For this reason I feel sure that they do not believe the charge.
In 1911, at the instance of Brother Russell, a by-law was passed providing for the removal of a member of the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION upon grounds therein stated. The by-law provides that the removal shall take place at the annual meeting. Of course it is understood that when the annual meeting is convened it can be legally adjourned from time to time until final adjournment, and each adjourned session is still the "annual meeting." At the annual meeting, January last, several of the brethren who could not be present gave their
proxies to others. The proxy, of course, carries the authority to the holder to vote on anything that comes before the annual meeting. The annual meeting adjourned until some date in March, to take up unfinished business. At the subsequent meeting the President was absent and adjournment was had to a still later date. The record allows that the annual meeting was regularly, legally and properly adjourned until the 27th day of July, 1917, and of course when it met at this adjourned session of the annual meeting its powers were identical to what they were at the first meeting. All proxies were still in force, unless revoked in writing. One brother who had moved away held some of these proxies and new proxies were afterwards given to other brethren to vote, thereby revoking former proxies. They were in proper and legal form. The PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION convened on the 27th day of July in regular order and legally so. Previous notices had been given to Brothers Hoskins and Hirsh that at that meeting charges would be held against them. They were present at the meeting on the 27th of July; a number of other brethren were also present All the proxies represented were presented at that time. The charges were read to them and they both asked that the meeting be further adjourned to give them more time. The record discloses that at their instances the motion was made and passed that the meeting again adjourn until the 31st of July, which was done. On the 31st of July the adjourned annual meeting convened again, legally and in the proper form. The charges were read and testimony was heard on both sides, and then votes were taken. Five votes were legally cast that the two brethren named should not be removed, and one of these was a proxy — they claimed seven votes, but the two indicted brethren could not legally vote on a question involving their own removal from the ASSOCIATION. Twenty-three votes were legally cast in favor of removing the brethren named, and hence they were removed, as provided by the by-law. Nearly all of those who voted by proxy have since addressed letters to the brethren who held their proxies, approving the action; and thus they were not only legally cast but subsequently had the approval of the members. These facts are shown by the official record of the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION, which any one is at liberty to inspect.
"BROOKLYN EAGLE" ATTACKS
Personally, I do not know who gave the information to the "Brooklyn Eagle" which it published. I do know that a reporter from that paper called on me and related the details of the trouble with the brethren who issued "Opponents' Paper". I asked the reporter to state who told him what he had just related, and he refused to tell me. The reporter then called upon me to make a statement. My only reply was, "I have nothing to say." I do know that the statement in the "Brooklyn Daily Eagle" seriously reflected upon Brother Russell as well as other brethren. Subsequently I had a talk with Brother Hirsh about the matter. He stated to me that on the 11th of July (while he was making an impassioned speech in the Bethel dining room), a newspaper reporter was waiting in the parlor and had called for Mr. Hirsh. Brother Hirsh said he refused to see the reporter at that time, but that a few days later he did meet this newspaper reporter on the street and told him something about the matter. It is due for me to state here that this newspaper reporter was not an accredited reporter of the "Brooklyn Eagle." Whether he gave the information to the "Brooklyn Eagle," or not, I do not know.
THE PILGRIM BRETHREN CHARGED
"Opponents' Piper" charges that the president and others have been secretly carrying on a campaign amongst the Bethel Family and the Pilgrim Brethren, spreading false reports regarding the Board and others, and that the Pilgrim brethren were sent out to spread these things among the classes. As to the truth or falsity of this statement I call upon everyone of the Pilgrim brethren in the service to make known if any such representations have been made to them and if they were asked to spread any charges. Prior to the breaking of the storm I talked with not a single Pilgrim brother aside from Brother Wisdom, and it was Brother Wisdom who brought the information to me at Chicago. For three months while I was being harassed at the Bethel Home and in the work by these brethren, some of whom did no work, several of the Pilgrim brethren visited the Bethel and not one word was uttered by me to them about the difficulty. So far as I have knowledge, the matter was not discussed by other members of the Family. Some of the Pilgrims have voluntarily written me about this. I here append some of their letters:
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD : —
"I feel constrained to write you in regard to a statement appearing in the pamphlet. 'Light after Darkness.' I am not writing this with any feeling of ill-will toward the brethren instrumental in writing that pamphlet but I feel it is really my duty to refute, in my case at least, the statement in the above mentioned pamphlet regarding some of the Pilgrim brethren being brought into the Bible House, filled with information and sent out. I was not once approached by any of the brethren implicated, so far as they personally were concerned.
"Yours with brotherly love in the only thing worth entertaining,
DEAR BRETHREN: —
"In the paper issued by the opposition, I noticed a statement to the effect that the members of the Bethel Family, the brethren at the Tabernacle, and the Pilgrim brethren had either been bribed or intimidated by the President and therefore were permitted to remain in the service of the Society.
"As one of the brethren above designated, I enter my protest against such a false assertion.
"During the month of August last I was privileged to be at Bethel and in all those four weeks, not once was I approached on the subject. Not a word was written to me by the SOCIETY either before coming or since my going away from there, regarding the matter.
"With Christian love, I remain
"Your brother in Christ,
J. F. Rutherford,
"Brooklyn, N. Y.
"MY DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD : —
"Greetings! I am writing you in regard to your letter in the last TOWER just read. The statement on page 9 of 'Light after Darkness' regarding the Pilgrims' being influenced by anything outside the publications, which have come into my hands does not in any sense apply to me. My judgments are formed wholly from the statements received from the SOCIETY and the brethren who have a grievance. I feel this confidence, that this SOCIETY has its work to do. It cannot be hindered, nor in any sense be interfered with until this work is completed. Then will be the time for it to go to pieces, but not before.
"Your brother in the Blessed Hope of joint-heir ship with Christ, and the Divine Nature.
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: —
"I see by the pamphlet entitled 'Light after Darkness' on page 9 that you or 'your representative' is accused of 'whispering in the ears of the Pilgrim Brethren and poisoning their minds' concerning the former Board of Directors. I will say the first 'Whispering' I heard was from the four brethren who make the accusation. In the first pamphlet they sent out I first learned of the trouble.
"Yours by the Lord's grace,
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD : —
"Since reading 'Light after Darkness' which would more properly be styled, 'Darkness after Light', I have decided to write you so as to let you know that you have my entire confidence, as well as all the support I can give you in any and every way. The Lord's hand is so manifestly on your side in this whole matter, that I have not the slightest doubt that He has overruled it, and that His will has been done.
"The charge made in 'Darkness after Light' — that the minds of the Pilgrims have been poisoned by your representative, Brother Macmillan, is surely false, as far as I am concerned or have any knowledge.
"It appears from 'Darkness after Light' that they are being actuated by passion instead of principle and that they are appealing to the sentiment of the friends instead of to their sanctified reason. This is manifest by their use of our Pastor's picture on the front cover.
"Yours in Him joyfully,
CONCERNING "AUDITOR'S" LETTER
The "Opponents' Paper" contains a letter from Brother F. G. Mason which could well be submitted without comment. I shall not here attempt to discuss it. In big headlines it is designated as the "Auditor's Letter," and the writer himself so styles himself in the communication. Brother Mason was never Auditor of the SOCIETY at any time. He was a subordinate clerk in the Purchasing Department at the time he was asked to leave Bethel. Previous to that he had been working in the Shipping Department and his treatment of other brothers and sisters working with him had been so unkind and rough that he was removed from there and put as a subordinate clerk in the Purchasing Department Bills checked by him were not paid until verified and passed upon by others, particularly by the one who has charge of the Purchasing Department Everyone who knows Brother Van Amburgh well knows that he has safeguarded the treasury and never paid any bill unless he had a voucher for it and knew that it was correct. The charge that hundreds of dollars are being paid out without record is wholly out of harmony with the truth. Several years ago a system of vouchers was put in force and approved by Brother Russell, ably assisted by Brother E. W. Brenneisen, who is a trained accountant and auditor, This system eliminates a lot of unnecessary bookkeeping and was adopted to save time and that more time could be devoted to other important work. However, the system fully safeguards every avenue. The brother's criticism, therefore, is not a criticism of myself, but of Brother Russell, who adopted the system used by the SOCIETY for years and which I have not changed. His letter refers to an invoice of $11,000, which he says he refused to check up. The fact is that he could not check it up, because he was not familiar with the account, and was not an experienced bookkeeper or accountant. The account was checked by Brother Hudgings, who has charge of that department and who had several years training under Brother Brenneisen. It was paid in the regular course, and a proper record thereof exists. There were many similar instances in which Brother Mason showed his unfitness for office work where special care is required. On one occasion he drew a voucher asking the Treasurer to issue a check for $950.00 in payment of a small bill of $9.50, The matter was caught by the head of the department before the voucher reached the Treasurer's office. After repeated blunders of serious nature Brother Mason admitted that he had "never kept books or done office work in his life" previous to his being transferred to the department from the shipping room at the Tabernacle, a few weeks previous.
Brother Mason was asked to remove from the Bethel because of his uncouth conduct, and because of his seemingly uncontrollable disposition to be unkind and rough with others, and because he showed his disloyalty by openly announcing that the "Brooklyn Eagle" had published a "corking good article about the trouble," and that he approved the same, which article was a direct reflection upon Brother Russell. After his departure he offered for sale to the SOCIETY some of his household goods, which we bought to help him out. While endeavoring to make the sale he affected great loyalty to the SOCIETY'S management, volunteering the information that he had been asked by the opposing brethren to "write something for their answer to HARVEST SIFTINGS" but that he "positively refused." The other statements in Brother Mason's letter are not worthy of consideration here.
No one has ever been asked to leave Bethel because they refused to sign a paper or endorse the present administration. Some who were engaged with others in disturbing the Home and office devoted the larger portion of their time in talking about the difficulty, striving to foment trouble, and were asked to go. The thought of the management is that those who receive the benefits of the Home and SOCIETY should render adequate service therefor, and that the Bethel should be a place of peace and quietness and consecrated labor for the Lord, not a place of dissension. It has always been the recognized rule, long ago made by Brother Russell, that "it is a privilege to be at the Bethel Home, not a right." and anyone's stay may be terminated at any time.
It is needless to say that no force was used on Brother Johnson the day he and some others started a disturbance in the Bethel dining room. They were asked to be quiet, and when he refused, he was taken by the coat sleeve and asked to go out. No force whatsoever was applied. He was at the Bethel Home fomenting trouble, in open defiance of the management, and repeatedly said he would not go unless the Board said so, meaning by the "Board" the four alleged members who were supporting him in the conspiracy against the SOCIETY. After several weeks of defiance, and when he thought probably he would have to go, he packed his baggage and left it in his room. He went out on the street without his hat and remained out for several hours. His hat and baggage were taken to the front hall, and when he returned they were handed out to him on the doorstep and admittance was refused. He was then offered some money to pay his expenses to his home in Columbus, Ohio, where he had not been since last November. This he declined. We feel sorry for Brother Johnson and regretted that it was necessary to publish as much of the facts as we did relating to his episodes, but since he was repeatedly found in consultation with Brothers Ritchie, Wright, Hoskins and Hirsh, and several times approached me saying that I should yield to them, that I was a "usurper" and that the Lord was displeased with me. that the Scriptures proved it, and that "we are consulting a lawyer and we know what we can do," and many other statements which were in identical language to that used by the four who were opposers; and seeing they had adopted a scheme or plan identical to that which he had pursued in England, it seemed imperative that I publish what I did. What Brother Wisdom told me was sufficient to put any reasonable man on guard, and to warrant him in taking action to safeguard that which was placed in his hands.
BIOGRAPHY AND AFFIDAVIT
With the evident purpose of trying to prove that I have been seeking notoriety, the "Opponents' Paper'' sets forth at length a statement about my biography. Evidently Brother Hirsh wrote this part of "Opponents' Paper." The inconsistency of it is apparent. He attempts to show that he had been trying to keep it secret, but that now he must publicly declare that I had written my biography. He there says, ''I had thought I would never mention this matter to anyone, but since the dear Brother [Hudgings] swears that Brother Hirsh composed the article, etc., I see no good reason why our lips should longer be sealed." One would infer he had never mentioned the matter before. Why, then, should Brother Hudgings think of making an affidavit about it at all? The facts are that Brother Hirsh made this charge against me openly and publicly in Philadelphia before a large audience on July 19th, notwithstanding be had inadvertently taken to himself full credit for the Memorial TOWER biography article in his impassioned speech in the Bethel dining-room two days previous. Those who heard him in Bethel on July 17th were somewhat surprised that he should reverse the matter so soon thereafter. Evidently his memory is very deficient. Brother Hudgings, hearing these charges and knowing that they were false, voluntarily made the affidavit without my knowledge and handed it to me just before HARVEST SIFTINGS went to press, and it was inserted. The facts are as follows:
A week or ten days prior to the Shareholders meeting of last January. Brother Sturgeon called at my office and said that a newspaper man and a lawyer were in the Home and were talking to Brother Hirsh; that they were anxious to meet me. I first declined to see them, but on reflection agreed to see them a few minutes. These two gentlemen, together with Brothers Hirsh and Sturgeon, came into my room and the newspaper man and the lawyer plied me with questions for two hours and elicited from me all of my personal experiences from my youth up. A few days later Brother Hirsh called on me and stated, in substance, "Brother Rutherford, everyone knows you are going to be elected President" To this I did not reply. Continuing, Brother Hirsh said. "If you will keep your hands off and not interfere I would like to prepare something for the press, and the newspaper man who was here to see me the other night wishes to give it out to the Associated Press. Then he said. "Would you mind dictating to your stenographer those points about your life?" There being no secret about this, and no reason why I should decline, I dictated to my stenographer a brief statement of my life experiences, which Brother Hirsh took away, and afterwards, with the aid of the newspaper man mentioned, he prepared a notice for the press which I did not see until it was published. Based upon this, Brother Hirsh afterwards prepared a similar article for the second edition of the Memorial TOWER, as set forth in the affidavit, and which
I am informed he had the printers reset three times at unnecessary cost, before he got it composed exactly as he wanted it. Brother Hudgings, seeing the manifest injustice Brother Hirsh was now trying to do, voluntarily made this affidavit clearly, setting forth the exact facts. Like other things published in the "Opponents' Paper." this matter of the biography is immaterial to the issue, but it is told in an evident attempt at discrediting me as much as possible in the eyes of the friends, and further beclouding the real subject The various other points in the affidavit Brother Hirsh did not even attempt to deny.
"THE PRESIDENT'S MANAGEMENT"
At a Board meeting Brother Van Amburgh requested the objectors to point out a single instance in which the President had mismanaged the affairs of the SOCIETY, and they were unable to do so. Seeing the importance of this admission, the "Opponents' Paper.'' on page 12, attempts to find something that they can lay as a charge against the management of the SOCIETY. They first mention the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION. The fact is, it was Brother Ritchie as Vice-President who signed that contract, and it was the Board of Directors that instructed me to enter into an arrangement with the purchasers to take it back.
With reference to the Angelophone Company, Brother Ritchie, as shown by the minutes of the Board, had charge of this and acted under the Board's instructions. It is untrue that Brothers Van Amburgh, Macmillan and myself ever despised anything that Brother Russell inaugurated. The Angelophone Company had been involved in contracts, which, because of Brother Russell's death, threatened a heavy loss to the SOCIETY, the outstanding obligations amounting to approximately Forty Thousand dollars. Brother Ritchie once said to me that he would assume the obligations and take over the Angelophone Company. It was then that I told him that I would not wish to see him incur a burden which he could not carry. It was later at a Board meeting that he asked that the Eighteen Thousand Dollars be turned over to him, as set forth in HARVEST SIFTINGS. It is not true, as stated in "Opponent's Paper" that "a sister from Illinois came forward and paid $1,500 to have the lectures recorded." This money was paid by the SOCIETY, as shown by the books.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The new members of the Board of Directors were not appointed because I had any desire to injure anyone. They were appointed to fill vacancies and to prevent those who were not legal members from carrying out a threat to institute legal proceedings, stop the work and tie up the money of the SOCIETY and wreck it unless they could get control. I acted out of necessity, not out of choice. I would not have appointed these members if this threat had not been made because we got along smoothly for several months until the opposing brethren began to hinder the progress of the work.
WHY SENT FROM BETHEL
These brethren in question were asked to leave Bethel because of the constant disturbance created by them, and their opposition to the work. The entire Bethel family and office force was kept in a state of constant apprehension, and the work could not progress satisfactorily under such conditions. The opposing brethren were constantly spending their time in holding conferences during office hours in total disregard of all rules, and doing no Harvest work. They were preparing to institute legal proceedings, and would have done so, doubtless, if Brother Pierson had not prevented it. I called them to a conference and asked them to tell me what they intended to do; that I was going away on my western trip, for two months, and wished to make arrangements for the work before going; that if they intended to institute an action in court I desired to make certain arrangements before I left I said, 'Brethren, do you intend to institute legal proceedings, or will you quit your disturbance and get to work?" They replied, "We will not talk with you unless our lawyer is present." I replied, "Surely it is not necessary to have a lawyer present in order to talk over these matters." They refused to give an answer. Then I said, "I will give you an ultimatum; if you are going to fight you must go outside of this Home to carry on your fight. You cannot remain here and continue this fight to the injury and disturbance of the Harvest work."
A few days later Brother Pierson came to see me and spoke to me in behalf of the four brethren. Brother Pierson asked if there was not some way by which these brethren could be kept in the work. I replied, "Yes, I would be glad to have them stay in the work. Brother Ritchie is a Canadian citizen. Our American Pilgrims cannot well go into Canada. If Brother Ritchie will go to Canada, take up the Pilgrim work and stop this disturbance and preach the Truth, the SOCIETY will be glad to send him and provide for the support of his wife there also." I further declared, "The SOCIETY will make similar provision for Brother Hoskins and his wife in the United States if he will go into the Pilgrim service, preach the Truth and that alone. As to the other two brethren, we will make suitable provision for them to remain in the work also, upon condition that we have peace." Brother Pierson expressed himself as much pleased at this suggestion and immediately went to the brethren with the proposition. Within an hour he returned to me saying that they had refused to accept such an arrangement. Then I said to Brother Pierson, "I am going away on a two months convention tour. I cannot leave this Home and the office in this state of turmoil; these brethren cannot stay here under present conditions." Brother Pierson replied, in substance, "I can see that you are right about that, brother." Then I said, "Brother Pierson, I suggest that the four brethren go away for a vacation, at the expense of the SOCIETY, for a period of two months. Let them leave their rooms furnished as they are, go away and study and pray over this matter, and when I return at the end of two months we will see if we cannot continue the work in peace." This proposition he also submitted to them, and they refused to accept it, saying that they did not want a vacation. Then I said to Brother Pierson, "They must go away; I have done all I can do." Then Brother Pierson asked, "Cannot some provision be made for their support for a while; they should not be turned out without some money." To this I agreed. When Brother Pierson asked how much should they have, I replied, "Brother Pierson, you fix the amount and I will agree to anything you say.". Brother Pierson then suggested three hundred dollars for each. To this I agreed.
I said, "Now Brother Pierson, suggest to them that they take one hundred and fifty dollars of this and go away for two months on a vacation, or each take the three hundred dollars and get out tomorrow without any conditions." Brother Pierson communicated this to them, and returned to me within a short time saying that they preferred to accept the three hundred dollars and get out the following day at noon. The next day at noon three of them went out, in a quiet and. peaceable manner, each taking with him $300. My heart was sad to see them go, but what else could I do? The work must be done, and we must have peace in order to do the work. I would be delighted to see each one of them get back into the Harvest work any day if they would cease opposing and zealously engage in the work of the Harvest Their present course only tends to hinder.
OPPOSITION TO THE SEVENTH VOLUME
Volume Seven is published by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, and we have every reason to believe it has the approval of the Lord. The greater majority of the brethren throughout the world are rejoicing to have it. It is "meat in due season" for the household of faith. It is helping many to stand and to rejoice in tribulation. It contains the message for the smiting of Babylon. Its distribution is now very important in the Harvest work. 'Opponents' Paper" shows that these brethren are against the Seventh Volume. They say (Page 14), "Let us be careful how we receive the so-called Seventh Volume." Thus they would retard rather than aid in the Harvest work, which is now drawing so near to its close.
"Opponents' Paper," for the first time, denies Brother Hirsh came to me and offered, if he was placed back on the Board, to go to Philadelphia and "make it more than right" by retracting the statements made. The fact remains, however, that Brother Hirsh himself, before the Philadelphia ecclesia, on the evening of July 19th, repeated a part of the conversation held that same afternoon between us in the Study, and thereby licensed me to tell all he had said to me in the drawing room, as it has been heretofore published in HARVEST SIFTINGS; and although Brother Hirsh followed me in a speech from the same platform that evening he did not then deny that he had made such an offer, and several of the brethren afterwards commented upon the fact that he had not denied it.
REAL ISSUE EXAMINED
Having disposed of the immaterial issues, which tend to confuse, let us now look for a moment at the real issue, namely — Was the President justified, in view of all the facts and circumstances, in appointing four consecrated Brethren to fill vacancies on the Board of Directors to act us such until the annual election to be held next January?
The following facts are admitted by the opponents and by all who know anything about the situation:
That the President of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY acted as its manager, without question, from organization until his death last year; that the Shareholders at the annual meeting in January, 1917, by unanimous vote, expressed the wish that the President shall always be the executive and manager of the SOCIETY'S work.
It is further admitted by opponents that the Board of Directors, without a dissenting voice, thereafter passed a similar by-law with reference to the management, and placed it upon record, and thereby solemnly bound themselves to stand by the same as the law of the SOCIETY.
It is further admitted by the opposing brethren that everything about the SOCIETY at the office headquarters was working smoothly and without a hitch until about June. 1917; that in that month, at a meeting of the Board of Directors, one of the brethren, who was a party to "Opponents' Paper," introduced a resolution to repeal the bylaws and to take the management of the SOCIETY out of the hands of the President, where it had been for thirty-three years and where the Shareholders expressly stated it should continue to be.
It is admitted by them that the consideration of Brother Johnson's episodes in England was the beginning of the present trouble; and that the consideration thereof, which occurred some time after his return from England, led to the introduction of the resolution to repeal the by-laws. "Opponents' Paper" expressly admits (Page 6, column 2) that "thus, the real issue, the management of the SOCIETY, came to the front and led to the resolution to repeal the by-laws."
It stands admitted and not denied that the four brethren in question, as a committee, spent a week in examining the papers relative to Brother Johnson's English episodes and in consultation with him; and that they reported to the Board of Directors a resolution approving Brother Johnson's course there — even that part of his action, namely, the institution of a lawsuit and the tying up of the money of the SOCIETY and that Brothers Hirsh, Hoskins, Wright and Ritchie, as a committee, by a resolution, called upon the Board of Directors to appropriate $500 of the SOCIETY'S money to reimburse Brother Johnson's solicitor, for money which he had paid out as a penalty assessed against him by the High Court of London for his wrongful act in proceeding with the lawsuit after such solicitor had received notice from the President of the SOCIETY not to do so. (Brother Hirsh introduced this very resolution, which the chair ruled out of order, and then Brother Hirsh retained the copy. Had it been filed with the Secretary it would be published here.) The President ruled the resolution out of order on the ground that it is the duty of the executive and manager of the SOCIETY to recall any Pilgrim brother when necessity arises, and that the lawsuit had been instituted by Pilgrim Brother Johnson without any rightful or legal authority, and that it was the duty of the President, as the executive officer, to act quickly to stop such lawsuit. I ruled that the Board of Directors had no right or authority to reverse such action and appropriate the money of the SOCIETY to pay a solicitor who had wrongfully instituted and carried on such lawsuit at the instance of Brother Johnson; especially when the High Court of London had decided that the President had the right to stop the case and that the solicitor, because not doing so, should suffer the penalty which the Court assessed against him. It was this ruling of the President that precipitated the trouble.
Immediately following this ruling Brother Hirsh, acting for himself and his colleagues, drew from his pocket and introduced a resolution to repeal the by-laws, taking the management out of the President's hands and placing it in the hands of the Board of Directors, and the four, being a majority, would control, of course. Thus Brother Johnson's English episodes would have been fully approved and the SOCIETY'S money appropriated to pay the solicitor above mentioned.
"Opponents' Paper" expressly admits (Page 6. column 2) that thus the real issue of the management (not control) of the SOCIETY came to the front and led to the introduction of the resolution to repeal the by-law. Be it known that this was the beginning of the trouble on the Board and that there had been no trouble whatsoever on the Board prior to the consideration of Brother Johnson's episodes. Having in mind that the President was then the manager, by virtue of the long continued custom of the SOCIETY and by virtue of the by-law duty passed and approved both by the Shareholders and by the Board, the question now here for consideration is
WERE THE FOUR BRETHREN JUSTIFIED
in seeking to put through a resolution approving the actions of Brother Johnson above stated? Or were they not, in so doing, wrongfully attempting to override the Shareholders and the executive and disregard the action which he had taken legally and properly as the manager, in his effort to safeguard and protect the interests of the SOCIETY?
When the Chair ruled that the resolution thus offered was, out of order, the brethren did not attempt to pass it over his veto and thus assume all the responsibility, but. as above stated, one of them immediately produced and introduced another resolution previously prepared, to deprive the President of the management of the SOCIETY and to put it into the hands of the four mentioned. Up to this point everything the President did relating to the controversy was wholly on the defensive.
Were they justified in attempting to repeal a by-law to which they had solemnly agreed and which by-law the Shareholders, as the Lord's representatives throughout the land, had by unanimous voice expressed as their wish and therefore as the Lord's will? Mark you, the President had done nothing as manager and president to which they found objection up to this time except declaring out of order the resolution with reference to Brother Johnson, as above stated. In doing that he was acting clearly within his authority under the Charter, under the law and the by-laws of the SOCIETY. It was at that time that Brother Van Amburgh called upon these four brethren to name one misdeed of which the President was guilty, and they were unable to do so. It was at that same time that Brother Pierson said to them, "Brethren, I think we had better not try to disturb what the Shareholders have done."
At this stage the Board adjourned for four weeks. In the meantime, in view of the statement by Brother Ritchie that he wanted to do the right thing and that if I could show him the law he would do the right thing. I deemed it wise to procure the legal opinion of some disinterested lawyer and at the next meeting submit this to the brethren and show them wherein they were wrong. I submitted the facts bearing upon the legal questions to said lawyer without intimating to him that there was any trouble in the SOCIETY; and to this day, so far as I am advised, he does not know that there is any trouble. This legal opinion was based entirely upon the facts as shown by the minutes of the SOCIETY. During the three or four weeks following, the four brethren in question were holding repeated conferences with each other, and with the brother who had caused the trouble in Great Britain, and were consulting lawyers about what course they should take. They made three or more attempts to force a meeting of the Board in the absence of Brother Van Amburgh and Brother Pierson. Brother Johnson had said to me, in substance, "You are a usurper; you are grasping for power; you are wrong; the Lord is displeased with you; you should submit to the will of the Board [meaning the four in question] and if you do not submit you will find yourself in great disrepute amongst all the friends. We are consulting lawyers and we know what we can do." In view of the fact that the other four brethren, on different occasions, had said practically the same thing, would any sane man for a moment hesitate to believe that all five were consorting together? In addition to this I personally saw them together several times, and time and again other members of the Bethel family reported to me that they were in conference in the Bethel Home.
Now in view of all the facts and circumstances, was the President justified in appointing four good, able, consecrated brethren, true and tried, to fill the vacancies on the Board of Directors in order that a legal Board might perform its duties and thus protect and safeguard the interests of the SOCIETY until the next election? Put yourself in his place and ask yourself, What would I have done? Of course the President could have stepped aside and said. "I will let them have it as they wish," but would not that have been unfaithfulness in the performance of duty devolving upon him in the position he occupied?
Suppose a person had attempted to destroy your property
and was foiled by your prompt action. Then suppose, a few weeks later, the same person who had thus attempted to do you injury was found consulting and advising with others, of which you had knowledge; and then reliable information was brought to you that these persons, combined, intended to destroy your property; would you sit idly by and wait until they had destroyed it, or would you take a reasonable course, acting quickly, to prevent such destruction? Is there any doubt about what a reasonably cautious person would do under such circumstances? As President of the SOCIETY I was face to face with this situation:
A DIFFICULT SITUATION
One brother, acting in Great Britain, had discharged two of the managers of the London office, forced them out of the house, had taken possession of the books, mail and money of the SOCIETY, had instituted a law suit in the High Court of London and tied up the funds of the SOCIETY and thus hindered the work. This brother had returned to America now, and because he could not have his own way about what action should be taken in returning him to Great Britain, he appeals to the four brethren whom he supposed to be legal members of the Board of Directors. He writes out a paper and takes it to these four and has them sign it, and then he himself presents it to the President of the SOCIETY demanding that the Board of Directors be convened to give him (Brother Johnson) another hearing. (This would have meant the third hearing.) This led to the offering of the resolution by Brother Hirsh, hereinbefore mentioned, approving Brother Johnson's course in England; and that being overruled led to the introduction of the further resolution to take the management of the SOCIETY'S affairs out of the hands of the President where it was legally placed by the Shareholders and the Board of Directors and to put it into the hands of the four who were advised by Brother Johnson.
This trouble continuing for several weeks had resulted in a disturbance of the office force by the four brethren in question, and also a disturbance of the Bethel family. A number of the office force had expressed their intention to leave if the four brethren got control of the management. One of the four brethren mentioned had made a covert threat to me in the presence of others with reference to tying up the funds of the SOCIETY.
I expected a meeting of the Board shortly after my return from Chicago. If I waited until the meeting and resisted their course of action then it was reasonable to expect that they would carry out their threat without delay and institute such a suit before I could do anything. Was it wise, then, for me to wait, or was it the part of wisdom to act quickly? After a prayerful consideration of the matter, I deemed it for the best interests of the work for me to act without any delay, hence I went from Chicago directly to Pittsburgh and appointed the four able brethren heretofore named to fill the vacancies upon such Board.
When I procured the legal opinion from the Philadelphia counsel it was not my purpose then to appoint others to fill the vacancies on the Board, but to be able to convince the brethren of the true situation. Not until Brother Wisdom submitted to me the facts as heretofore published, which showed the dangerous situation and the necessity of immediate action, did I determine what to do. It was then that I decided to fill those vacancies. I called a meeting on the 17th of July, inviting Brothers Wright, Ritchie, Hirsh and Hoskins to be present, with the purpose of reading to them the legal opinion, then to advise them of the situation; and was hoping that they would quietly acquiesce, that the trouble would be ended and the work go on smoothly. They were all in the Bethel Home that day but refused to come to the meeting, and thus they forced me to make a statement in the dining room before the family and others with reference to the appointment of Brothers Spill, Bohnet, Fisher and Macmillan and the reason why I had taken this action. This occurred on the same date the Seventh Volume was first announced and given to the family, and because of which I had asked all the family to be present at the noon meal.
Was I moved by any personal feeling against the four brethren in taking this action? No, not at all. I have no ill-feeling against them now and never have had. I shall be delighted to do anything that will help them to again actively engage in the Lord's Harvest work and to work in harmony. Have the four brethren, namely, Brothers Hirsh, Hoskins, Wright and Ritchie, been injured by my action in filling these vacancies? None whatsoever, unless it may be considered that they have not received what some may term honor and that thereby they are injured.
Has the SOCIETY or its work suffered any injury whatsoever by my action in filling these vacancies? None whatsoever. On the contrary the facts show that the work has been on the increase every day since that time. Every branch of the work has advanced.
The point is raised that if the four members mentioned were not legal members of the Board how was it possible for Brother Van Amburgh, Brother Pierson and myself to become legal Directors elected at Pittsburgh? I answer, we were elected by a vote of the Shareholders as officers of the SOCIETY, and by virtue of such election we are legally members of the Board of said SOCIETY, both under the terms of the law and the Charter. "Opponents' Paper" publishes what purports to be the Charter, but paragraph VI. thereof they changed from what the original Charter is, by omitting the official titles of the elected members. The original Charter, paragraph VI. follows, to-wit:
|President, Charles T. Russell,||Wm. C Macmillan,|
|Vice President, Wm. I. Mann,||Simon O. Blunden,|
|Secy. and Treas., Maria F. Russell,||J. B. Adamson,|
|Joseph F. Smith.|
If "Opponents' Paper" had quoted the Charter correctly it would have shown the facts as they exist, namely, that it was the intention of the author of the Charter and of the court granting the same, that the President. Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer, by virtue of their election to these respective offices, are members of the Board of Directors. From the date of the organization until his death. Brother Russell was never voted for at an annual meeting for the place of Director on the Board, but his annual election as the President constituted him a member of the Board of Directors. The same was true as to the other two officers. Hence the election of the three officers, viz. President, Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer, at the annual election in January, 1917, thereby constituted them legally members of the Board. Brother Ritchie became a member of the Board of Directors only by virtue of his election as Vice President in 1916 and prior thereto, but he ceased to be a member when Brother Pierson was elected as his successor. The other three were never elected at any time, and therefore were never legal members of the Board. The law requires that the members of the Board of Directors shall be elected annually.
MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS
A few letters have reached me asking that I call a special meeting of the Shareholders to settle this difference. Such a meeting would cost much time and money and the loss of opportunities for labor in the Harvest field. It is only a short time until the 5th of January, when the regular, annual meeting must be held for the election of a new Board of Directors and officers. Shall we stop the work now and come together to settle the question as to whether or not these four brethren were legal Directors and whether they shall serve as such for the few remaining weeks of this year until the next annual election? Or would it be more pleasing to the Master of the Harvest for us to unitedly bend our efforts toward getting our work done and leave this other matter until the annual election?
As for myself. I prefer to see the work done, but I do not wish to be arbitrary and will do as a majority of the Shareholders request. My desire and purpose is to serve the Lord and His people. I have no ambition for earthly power or honor. I did not seek election to the office of President, and I am not seeking reelection. The Lord is able to attend to his own business.
At a board meeting when this disturbance was first begun by the opposing brethren, I then and there offered to resign as President if such resignation would bring peace. I afterwards made a similar statement in the dining room in the presence of the entire family, and in the presence of these four brethren. I greatly deplore strife and trouble; such will tend to keep out of the Kingdom all who engage in it. I want to get into the Kingdom above all things. That is my greatest desire for my brethren. I have tried to avoid this trouble.
Let us have peace! The Harvest work is of paramount importance above the honor or interests of any man. Let us honor the Lord first, and above all let us unitedly go forth into His work. The words of the Apostle seem so appropriate at this time:
"Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward."
With much love for and prayers on behalf of all of God's dear children. I beg to remain
Your brother and servant by His grace,