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Jehovah's Witnesses In The Divine Purpose


Publishing Freedom for the People Through Expanded Facilities

JOHN: The year 1927 proved to be a real year of service. Even at the assembly the emphasis throughout was on service. Then too, it was early in that year that Sunday "canvassing" with the literature and placing it on a contribution was begun by congregations in America. I'm going to tell you more about that later, maybe next week.

That year saw our biggest forward step in the printing of Bible literature, for that was the year we began to use our own specially built factory at 117 Adams Street, about a ten-minute walk from Bethel. We moved into the factory in February and by March 1 it was completed. The annual report of the Society's president as published in the Yearbook of 1928 gives us a picture of this expansion that I would like to read in some detail because it reveals the dedicated spirit of these brothers that were advancing with the organization.

By the way, the 1927 edition, containing the 1926 annual report, was the first Yearbook the Society produced as a hard-bound book. Before this, the annual report of the Society's president had appeared in The Watch Tower at the close of each year. This continued even beyond 1922 when it was printed also in booklet form. Beginning with the 1926 report it was published only in the hard-bound Yearbook and in a much more detailed manner. Included also were Bible texts and comments for each day of the year as well as for the weekly prayer meetings. Now let's all listen to this invigorating account of the progress being made in the publishing of material for Bible study. It's taken from the 1928 Yearbook.

In the annual report of 1926 reference was made to the fact that the Society had purchased a lot and had begun the erection of a new factory building. a This building was completed and ready for occupancy February last. The printing and book-binding machinery was moved into it, and work begun. The building covers a lot of ground practically one hundred feet square and is eight stories high, with a freight elevator and a passenger elevator, light and well ventilated, and furnishes a splendid home for the manufacture and shipping of the books and booklets and generally for the work that is carried on in the office in connection therewith. This building and the equipment are a real joy to those who have had a part in the work at headquarters during the past six years.

The progress of the printing and manufacturing of books by the brethren during the past few years is marvelous. When it began, our brethren knew nothing about the use of the machines. They had to learn. As a comparison with what they can now do and what they were able to do at the beginning, the following is an instance: A large press was manufactured in Germany for the Society and shipped to Brooklyn. b It was necessary to bring an expert mechanic from Germany to install the press. This expert together with several helpers took two months in which to put it up and get the machine in operation. Within two years there-


after another press of the same size and make was bought in Germany and shipped to America. It was erected by one brother in the factory, together with others who assisted him; and this was done in three weeks. Many marvel at what the brethren are able to do. Men of the world cannot understand it. It is plain, however, to those who are devoted to the Lord. . . .

The brethren who have served in the erection and operation of the machinery to manufacture books and booklets, have done so willingly with pure hearts devoted to the Lord. The results have been beyond the understanding of worldly men. The results should be and are encouraging to all who are in the Lord's service. Ordinarily men who operate such machines must serve an apprenticeship under one who knows and learn gradually, but even then they are not prompted by the right spirit to do the best work. When one is thoroughly devoted to the Lord and anxious to learn and trusts in the Lord and then puts forth his best efforts, he may depend upon it that the Lord will help him. The proof of this is shown in the progress of the Society's plant for the publication of its books and literature.

Brother Martin is the manager of the factory and office at 117 Adams Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. He has been keenly interested in and participated in the progress of the printing works from its inception. In his report to the president of the Society made at the end of the fiscal year he says:

DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: It was a great day when the Lord put it into your heart to let us get out the big edition of Golden Age No. 27 in the Lord's own factory and with the Lord's own help. That seems like a long time ago now. Things move so rapidly. And yet it is only seven years. And in those seven years what wonders have been wrought as regards the Lord's work.

I have forgotten now how many carloads that special edition of four million copies made, but it would have made a fair sized train, and it was all run off on one big rotary press, the one that we still fondly call by the name "the old battleship". That old battleship has been a good friend to us all.

You will remember that when you first tried to buy a large rotary press, right after the war, the first answer was that there were only a few of them in the country, and that they were all busy, and there was no chance whatever of getting one for many months, longer, indeed, then it seemed right to wait.

But at the right time the Lord opened the door; and the big rotary came into our hands, came into the hands that knew nothing about its construction and operation. But the Lord knows how to quicken the minds of those who have committed their all to him. And in a few days, one might almost say, but surely in a very few weeks, we were able to make that press hum; and it is still humming, doing work that even its makers never knew it could do. That was a very, very little print shop in which we first put the battleship to work; that is to say, little as compared with our present ideas and present surroundings. The whole floor space available for factory operations was only 3000 square feet, distributed over three floors; and the whole force working on production of printed matter was only twenty brethren. Only the Lord's help made it possible to do what was done. Previous to that issue every bit of our printing had been done by outside concerns, and we were always dependent on them.


It was another great day for the Lord's work when you wanted to know if it would not be possible to get out our own booklets on the battleship. It did not look at all feasible at the start. For one thing, the makers themselves said it could not be done. It never had been done, and therefore it was useless to try. But we tried, and you know the result.

Back there in 1920, when the boys first started to make booklets on the battleship, the total number of booklets made per day averaged only a thousand, but by the next year it was 3,000 per day, by 1923 it was 6,000 per day, by 1926 it was over 10,000 per day, now it averages 15,000 for every day; and these booklets are all made on the same press. Experience and the Lord's blessing have accomplished these results.

As you know, all our booklets are wire-stitched. On our first stitcher two workers could stitch 2,000 booklets in a day, or at that rate, when they had them to stitch. Now, with an improved stitcher, which makes two stitches at once instead of separate stitching for each wire, two expert operators will each stitch 25,000 of the booklets in one day.

Similar progress is to be noted on the folding of the booklets. The folder, you know, is our own invention, and very efficient. Two brethren on this folder displaced twelve when we folded them by hand. At the outset a capable brother could fold 10,000 booklets a day on the folder; today a brother, disciplined in the use of hands and eyes and muscles, folds 30,000 on the same machine, a remarkable achievement.


Greatest day of all was the day when you wanted to know if there was any good reason why we should not print and bind all our own books. It was a breath-taking idea, because it


meant the opening of a complete typesetting, electroplating, printing and binding plant, with the operation of more than a score of unfamiliar machines, mostly machines we never knew were made, and the necessity of learning more than a dozen trades. But it seemed the best way to meet the war prices charged for books.

You leased the six-story building at 18 Concord Street (with tenants on two floors); and on March 1, 1922, we moved in. You bought for us a complete outfit of typesetting, electroplating, printing and binding machinery, most of it new, some of it second-hand; and we started work.

One of the great printing establishments which had been doing much of our work heard of what we were doing and came, in the person of the president, to visit us. He saw the new equipment and sagely remarked, "Here you are with a first-class printing establishment on your hands, and nobody around the place that knows a thing about what to do with it. In six months the whole thing will be a lot of junk; and you will find out that the people to do your printing are those that have always done it, and make it their business."

That sounded logical enough, but it left out the Lord; and he has always been with us. When the bindery was started he sent along a brother who has spent his whole life in the binding business. He was of great use at the time he was most needed. With his assistance, and with the Lord's spirit working through the brethren who were trying to learn, it was not long before we were making books.

At first the book production did not go so fast. Books cannot be rushed, anyway. But during the first year that we did our own binding we managed to bind 2,000 per day, and that seemed like a good many at the time. The next year, we bound 3,000 per day; and in 1924 we jumped to 5,500 per day. In 1926 we were binding 8,000 per day; and now, with our new machinery, we are producing 10,000 to 12,000 books per day.

With our new rotary press, just brought in from Germany, we shall be able to produce 18,000 to 20,000 bound volumes per day, with no very great increase in number of workers.

When our brethren first started to sew books they could sew 500 books a day; now they have become so expert that one of them turns out 3.000 per day. This involves very close coordination of hand and eye, and ceaseless industry from morning until night. This kind of help cannot be obtained outside, at any price. We often have people go through our plant who marvel at the speed with which our brethren work; and, in the case of worldlings, they wonder what must be the fabulous wages which we pay them to get such work done.


The greatest day of all was the day when you bought this property and began to plan the erection of what is now admitted even by its critics, to be one of the finest print-shops in the center of the world's printing business, namely, New York City. We cannot say less for our new factory. It is everything that a print-shop should be.

The general plan of the building is perfect for our work. The work all moves downward from floor to floor by gravity, and in the natural order: Offices on the top floor, where they belong; typesetting on the next floor, where it logically follows; the plates go down to the next floor, the sixth, where the printing is done; mailing and booklets take up the fifth; binding comes on the fourth; storage, on the third; shipping, on the second; paper stock, garage and power-plant, on the first. Nothing could improve on it.

Despite the tremendous increase in production of books and booklets, our factory force, i.e., the actual book-making force, has increased only from twenty to ninety-five. Improved machinery, greater experience, better factory facilities, have wrought the changes; and over all has been the Lord's blessing, without which our efforts would have been of little avail.

A feature of our new building which has excited general admiration of printers and others is that, when the building was made, all the electric light and power conduits were laid in the floor, completely out of sight. As additions are made to the machinery from time to time no fresh wiring is necessary. The places where the new machines are to stand were plotted while the building was in process of construction, and all provision made.

The only work the three-ton freight elevator has to perform is to carry the paper stock from the first floor to the pressroom, which is on the sixth floor. From there the paper, in the form of books and booklets, finds its way by gravity from one operation to another until it finally lands on the shipping floor.

The front hallway, on the first floor, and the entire top floor, are most attractively finished, all lending an air of cheeriness to workers and visitors. The fourteen-passenger elevator is ample for all our needs and will empty the building in a few minutes. There is not a better heated, lighted or ventilated building in New York. c

Brother Rutherford continues his report:

What is here said about the Brooklyn factory may also be said about the Society's manufac-


turing equipment at Magdeburg, Germany, d and Berne, Switzerland. e Magdeburg is not quite so extensive as Brooklyn, and Switzerland is less, but each one has done splendid work and in proportion to the number employed and the equipment used. The Lord has put his spirit upon the brethren there and blessed their efforts, as will be seen by the reports from these respective countries. f


TOM: Didn't you say you moved into new larger quarters at Bethel too?

JOHN: Yes, but at the same address. The Bethel home was rebuilt and enlarged. This was not the first expansion of the headquarters facilities, though. You will remember, in 1909 the Society purchased the old brownstone Beecher home at 124 Columbia Heights for executive offices and housing. Then in October of that year it was necessary to obtain a similar building adjoining this one, at 122 Columbia Heights. The following year, 1910, "more room was needed, and the buildings on Furman Street to the rear and below Columbia Heights were utilized by constructing on their foundations five additional stories, making a nine-story structure." The seventh floor of this addition to the rear was on the ground floor level of the buildings on Columbia Heights. g

The expansion that began in 1926 is discussed in the 1928 Yearbook:

The number engaged at the Brooklyn headquarters now is nearing two hundred. It became quite clear that the quarters were too small to properly care for those engaged in the work. Hence ways and means were sought to enlarge the premises. In December of 1926 the lot adjoining the property at 124 Columbia Heights was purchased; and early in January the three buildings situated on lots 122, 124 and 126 Columbia Heights were torn away and the erection of a new building begun. That building is now nearing completion. It consists of nine stories, including the sub-basement, and contains approximately 80 rooms. These are in addition to the building that is situated at the rear of these lots. On the top floor of the new building will be located the executive offices of the Society. The official address will continue to be 124 Columbia Heights. The entire premises will be occupied and exclusively used for the Society's purposes. It is hoped that the more comfortable quarters will enable each one to render more efficient service to the glory of the Lord. h

The following year a more detailed report of the operation of the home was given. Here are some excerpts:

Bethel home . . . now consists of a building of approximately 120 rooms with modern conveniences, making it a suitable place to house those who work in the Lord's service. The home is not elaborately furnished, of course, but it is pleasing and comfortable. Approximately 180 persons are in the house of the Bethel home. Most of these are young men. The purpose is to maintain a good working force. Two persons occupy each room. Each room is fitted with two single beds so that each one may have a bed to himself. It is also fitted with tables and lights for private study.

There is a general assembly room, where the brethren may congregate for music or conversation. There is a library, where quiet study may be had by those who wish to be there in the evening. There are music rooms used for instruction and practice both in vocal and in instrumental music preparatory for the radio programs. These rooms are used daily for the purposes mentioned. Other rooms are fitted with typewriters for use by the brethren in preparing their discourses for radiocasting and for other occasions of speaking.

The Bethel home has a house manager, whose office is on the first floor below the entrance. He looks after the affairs of the home generally and in detail. Each person entering the home reports to the manager or to his assistant and is required to register. The purpose of registering is to enable the management to know who is in the house and to what room assigned and why he is there. This is necessary with reference to guests as well as to those who occupy rooms permanently. The work of the manager's office includes the buying of the food, preparing of the meals, serving the meals, the cleaning of the house, and generally looking after the work that goes on there. There is a well-organized force of assistants working under his direction. Each one, being devoted to the Lord, does his or her part with gladness of heart.


Of necessity the Bethel Home must be conducted in an orderly way. No other way would


be pleasing to the Lord. To this end, rules are had for the government of the home. A printed copy of the rules is placed in the hands of each one who enters the home for service. He is requested to study these rules and abide by them. At 6:30 o'clock in the morning the rising signal is sounded. Every one is expected to arise immediately, take a bath and prepare for the day. At 7 a.m. the breakfast signal is sounded and the entire family assembles in the dining-room. The morning devotion is led by the president when present. When he is absent, some one else is designated to fill this place.

Morning devotion consists of singing a song previously selected for the day. Then prayer is offered by the one leading or by some one whom he requests. After this the blessing upon the food is asked by some member of the family. Following that, the breakfast meal is served; and during the service the Bible text for the day is read and is freely discussed by the members of the family, particularly those who are elders in the ecclesia. At the conclusion of the discussion and the reading of the comment contained in the Year Book, the president sums up in a brief statement especially appropriate to the daily text. i The family then stands while being dismissed with prayer.

At eight o'clock in the morning all members of the family are expected to be diligently performing their respective duties. Some operate the laundry, others mend shoes or press clothes, others prepare the food, others cook it, others wash the dishes, and give attention to the dining-room, while still another company cares for the house. Each one performs his service faithfully as assigned, doing it always as unto the Lord because he is doing service that is necessary to carry on the Lord's work. All who are admitted to the home and assigned to service first file a questionnaire declaring that they are fully consecrated to the Lord and in full harmony with the work that the Society is doing. The purpose is to have the members of the family in full harmony and working with one object in view, namely, that of proclaiming the gospel of God's kingdom. It is readily to be seen that no one is expected to remain at the home unless he performs service.

At noon an hour is given for the serving of the food and the discussion of Bible questions. Any one of the family or any one visiting the family may propound a Bible question. The one presiding calls upon various brethren to give their expression on the question and then there is a free and open discussion of the question by any one who may desire to participate therein. At the conclusion the one leading sums up the question by covering the points that have been previously brought forth. A similar course is followed at the evening meal. In fact, at the time of serving each meal in the dining-room there is also a time and occasion for the study of the Bible and the time is so occupied. . . .

On Monday evening there is a study of some leading article in The Watch Tower. The attendance at this meeting is limited to members of the family. This meeting is usually led by the president of the Society. j

TOM: My, what a full schedule. But it's no wonder such rapid progress was made in printing methods with so much interest manifested by the workers in their jobs.


LOIS: Where was the sixth convention in this international series held?

JOHN: It was scheduled for Toronto, Canada, July 18 to 25, 1927. But before we discuss some features of the assembly itself, there are a few little interesting sidelights I'd like to tell you about.

The convention committee and the mayor of the city of Toronto were both interested in having this convention of the Bible Students held in their city, but it soon became apparent that the public press was opposed and intended to give little publicity to the assembly. An effort was made to change the site of the convention to Detroit, Michigan, where an attractive offer had been held out by a member of the convention bureau of that city. So many obstacles presented themselves, however, that it was finally decided the assembly should be held in Toronto anyway.

The Society then determined to publish its own newspaper to carry details of the convention to those in attendance and to other interested persons. Five issues of this paper called "The Messenger" were printed in the Society's Branch office and more than 20,000 copies of each issue were distributed, while of the final "souvenir" edition, 100,000 copies were distributed. Be-


cause of the attitude of the public press it was decided not to use any paid display advertising. Instead, the Society printed 100,000 handbills, which were enthusiastically distributed on the streets by the brothers.

TOM: So you provided your own publicity.

JOHN: Exactly; then there was another sidelight, a significant one in view of later developments. Swelling the attendance of 15,000 at the public meeting the last Sunday was a vast invisible audience tied in by an international radio chain of broadcasting stations. The special network was operated for the occasion by the National Broadcasting Company of the United States. This came about as a result of a clever maneuver on the part of Judge Rutherford when he appeared before the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., June 14 and 15 with Mr. Aylesworth, president of the National Broadcasting Company.

Brother Rutherford was cross-examining Mr. Aylesworth on testimony that Aylesworth had given regarding certain financiers, statesmen and clergymen that had been given free use of radio time. Rutherford propounded this question to him: "Your purpose is to give to the people by radio the message of the greatest financiers, the most prominent statesmen, and the most renowned clergymen in the world?" Mr. Aylesworth replied that it was. Then Brother Rutherford propounded another question. "If you were convinced that the great God of the universe will shortly put in operation his plan for the blessing of all the families and nations of the earth with peace, prosperity, life, liberty and happiness, would you arrange to broadcast it?" Since it would have been difficult for Mr. Aylesworth to say No, he therefore answered Yes. Then he voluntarily offered to broadcast a lecture by the president of the International Bible Students Association. Of course, Brother Rutherford immediately accepted, with the result that his public lecture was broadcast over fifty-three stations, the largest number in a network to that time. k


Now we come to the sixth in the series of proclamations. At the Sunday public meeting of this assembly in Toronto, Canada, the convention adopted a resolution addressed "To the Peoples of 'Christendom,'" which was later published in a booklet entitled "Freedom for the Peoples," the same as the public talk, and distributed during a special campaign the following October. 1

LOIS: Was this one also a call to people of good will?

JOHN: Yes, it was, and hence it made a strong case against Christendom as holding out a false hope. Here is what the resolution called to the attention of the people of Christendom:

FIRST: That God made of one blood all peoples and nations of men to dwell on the earth, and granted to all peoples equal rights.

SECOND: That the foremost nations of the earth claim to be Christian nations and, taken collectively, they constitute "Christendom" or "organized Christianity," so called . . .

THIRD: That for centuries the privileges enjoyed by men have been wholly unequal and unfair. The multitudes have produced the wealth of the world, but have been unjustly deprived of the fruits of their labors. That . . . "organized Christianity" has turned a deaf ear to the petitions and entreaties of the people for relief, and now the cries of the oppressed people have entered into the ears of Jehovah God, and his time is at hand to give the peoples deliverance and freedom.

FOURTH: That Jehovah is the only true God, the Friend and Benefactor of the peoples.


He has now set his beloved Son Christ Jesus upon his throne and bids all the peoples of earth to hear and to obey him who is earth's rightful King.

FIFTH: That the kings and rulers of the earth, to wit: those constituting the said unholy alliance, have been duly notified that God has set his King upon his throne and that his kingdom is at hand; but they refuse to understand or to take heed, and they walk on in darkness. Therefore God has decreed and declared that there shall come upon the world a time of tribulation such as never was known and that during that trouble "Christendom" or "organized Christianity," so-called, and all of Satan's organization shall be destroyed; and that Christ Jesus, the righteous King, will assume complete authority and control and will bless the peoples of earth.

SIXTH: That it must be now apparent to all thoughtful peoples that relief, comfort and blessings so much desired by them can never come from the unrighteous system of "Christendom" or "organized Christianity," and that there is no reason to give further support to that hypocritical and oppressive system. In this hour of perplexity Jehovah God bids the peoples to abandon and for ever forsake "Christendom" or "organized Christianity" and to turn completely away from it, because it is the Devil's organization, and to give it no support whatsoever . . .m

The resolution then concludes with an appeal to the peoples of Christendom to give their heart devotion and allegiance to Jehovah God and to his kingdom, which has now been established as the culmination of hope of thousands of years of both Jews and Christians.

This Resolution, together with the convention's public lecture in support on "Freedom for the Peoples," was published in a booklet bearing that same title. This was the first Resolution to be incorporated in a booklet and distributed on a contribution of 5c, in the millions of copies. The new book Creation was also now released. And in the following month of November the Brooklyn Bethel family moved into its new seven-story home at 122-126 Columbia Heights. Another thing, at the Toronto convention Judge Rutherford discussed with the pilgrim brothers the intention of converting them from being merely traveling speakers into traveling supervisors and promoters of field activities by the congregations. Thus in many ways 1927 was a marked year.

Now, Tom, I wonder if you would tell us what you think these Resolutions, so far, were designed to do.

TOM: Well, it looks to me as though the leaders of the world were not only being indicted for ignoring Jehovah but they were also being warned of what would happen because they continued to refuse the counsel and warning Jehovah gives. Furthermore, I would say that a call was going out to the peoples of the world to take their stand either for or against God's kingdom, born in the heavens in 1914.


JOHN: Exactly, and the final proclamation in this devastating series was an even stronger appeal to that end of dividing the people. It occurred during the eight-day convention, July 30-August 6, 1928, in Detroit, Michigan, where 12,000 on the final day of the assembly enthusiastically adopted the resounding resolution "Declaration Against Satan and for Jehovah." n It came as a climax to Brother Rutherford's stirring discourse "Ruler for the People," broadcast by a Watch Tower telephone hookup of 106 radio stations and to such faraway points as Australia and New Zealand.

In this talk the Society's president Scripturally and forcefully laid before his audience the clear-cut issue of universal sovereignty and identified Satan the Devil as man's greatest foe. In presenting the crushing indictment against this archenemy he declared:


This Declaration is not against the people nor the men in office. It is not against the blind preachers who have misled the people. This Declaration is against the common enemy of all creation. It is against the enemy who for centuries has defamed the name of Jehovah God and brought unbounded sorrow to man. It is against Satan and his allies in darkness and evil. It is made as a testimony to the fact that Satan's evil rule must shortly end and that Jehovah, for his name's sake and the salvation of the people, will establish a righteous government that all the nations of earth shall be blessed. o

These vital truths were incorporated as a part of the declaration against Satan, and the sixth vital truth stated:

That because Satan will not surrender his wicked rule over the nations and peoples of the earth, Jehovah of hosts with his anointed executive officer Christ Jesus will press the conflict against Satan and all of his forces of evil, and henceforth our battle-cry shall be, THE SWORD OF JEHOVAH AND OF HIS ANOINTED; that the great battle of Armageddon soon to begin will result in the full restraint of Satan and the complete overthrow of his evil organization, and that Jehovah will establish righteousness in the earth by and through Christ the new ruler and will emancipate mankind from evil and bring everlasting blessings to all the nations of the earth . . .p

LOIS: What a climax to this campaign of Resolutions against God's enemies!

MARIA: No doubt could remain in the minds of any in this world, whether among the leaders themselves or among the masses of the people, as to where Jehovah's witnesses stood on this issue of universal sovereignty.

JOHN: This was particularly significant coming at the time that it did. Jehovah's witnesses did not know then that a New World society was being formed by those associated with the Watch Tower Society. Nevertheless, in the outworking of Jehovah's divine purpose, the system that Satan had devised and built up over the six thousand years of man's history was now permanently on its way out and a new system must come in if the earth was to be populated by a people in harmony with God.

The twenty-year period that began in 1919 proved to be one of violent changes and controversial issues. Satan was making an all-out effort to re-establish his forces after his ignominious debasement by the "war in heaven." The League of Nations, Fascism, Nazism, Communism, all born within a year or two of the New World society, were now growing up together, each according to its own principles and each striving to find its place among the peoples of the world.

In the minds of Jehovah's witnesses there was no question as to the final outcome. That is because their position is based on the Word of God; and the position they took in this series of bold Resolutions from 1922 to 1928 was one from which there was now no drawing back. The war between the old-world society and the New World society was on, and in the closing judgment proclamation issued by Jehovah through his servants, the mastermind of the unholy alliance in this world's system of things was himself exposed to open ridicule and shame. Satan could now be viewed by all the world for what he is, a renegade deceiver with nothing but annihilation to offer those foolish enough to fall into his snare.

Already the first decade of this critical period was running out. No one could know, at the time this declaration against Satan and for Jehovah was made, exactly what the next ten years would bring forth. But whether the end would come in that length of time or not, Jehovah's witnesses were certain that Jehovah would gain the victory. The ten years that followed this series of stinging indictments were packed with action, severe trials, yet heart-cheering results for Jehovah's faithful witnesses.

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