Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
HARVEST SIFTINGS REVIEWED
A SYNOPSIS OF THIS CHAPTER. ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE EUROPEAN TRIP. THE BRITISH SITUATION BEFORE AND AFTER THE ABSOLUTELY-WITHOUT-AUTHORITY CABLE. J.F. RUTHERFORD'S AND J. HEMERY'S MULTITUDINOUS AND GROSS MISREPRESENTATIONS. J.F. RUTHERFORD'S COURSE TOWARD THE AUTHOR AFTER HIS RETURN TO AMERICA. A CHARITABLE EXPLANATION OF J.F. RUTHERFORD'S INVOLVED COURSE. A SUPPLEMENT.
[Written Aug., 1917.]
To The International Bible Students:
My Beloved Brethren:—Grace and peace. Your hearts have doubtless been deeply pained by J.F.R.'s Harvest Siftings— pained whether you believe it true or untrue, in its general setting of the persons and things treated of therein. It is to ease this pain, and to point to a way out that moves me to answer. It is condemnable to plunge the Lord's saints into a controversy over a matter that, as far as concerns me, should never have been published broadcast among them, much less among many outsiders. But by this uncalled-for act, I have been placed before the Church, which for 14 years I have faithfully served, and before others in such a bad light as to destroy utterly my usefulness, unless truthfully my actions can be set before the Church in a favorable light. I deplore the necessity of answering Harvest Siftings, especially as the answer must be of a personal kind, and involve others. Yet this is in harmony with Bro. Russell's article quoted in the Tower of September 15, 1917, page 283, second col. and first par. Much rather would I give my time to telling "the old, old story." But if I am ever again to tell the brethren "the old, old story" in a way fruitful to them, I must stand before them in the light of what I have been and am: a faithful servant of the Truth, as it has been expounded to us in the writings and sayings of our beloved
Bro. Russell. How to have been more faithful to the Lord, the Truth, the Brethren and Bro. Russell's policies than I was in the work that I was privileged last winter to do in Britain, I do not know. I was faithful to these almost to death by exhaustion. It is because my service in Britain has been so grossly caricatured in Harvest Siftings, as to be unrecognizable and injurious to the Truth and the Brethren, that I will tell the main facts, as I know them, relying upon God's grace to enable me to write with charity toward all, with malice toward none. That grace enables me to keep sweet in the love of God toward all, especially towards J.F.R. and Jesse Hemery, whom after Bro. Russell's death I loved above all other brethren. While conscious of the great wrong they have done me, from the bottom of my heart I pray for them: God bless them! May I not ask the reader not to judge my case, until after a prayerful, impartial reading of my statement?
I will first give a synopsis of this Chapter, thereafter details.
I. Additional to the letter given Nov. 3 for passports, and the letter to the British Managers, the Executive Committee on Nov. 10 gave Bro. Johnson credentials, empowering him with full authority in the Society's work and business in certain foreign countries, the Committee telling him Nov. 10 that his authorization papers described the powers they wanted him to exercise.
II. Nov. 21 at his first meeting with the three London Managers he showed them his authorization papers as a statement of his powers; and reported this fact to the Committee, which offered no objections in their letter of acknowledgment. From that time on he claimed and exercised full power and authority in the Society's affairs in Britain.
III. For three months he performed many executive acts, and reported them first to the Committee, and
later to J.F.R., from whom before Feb. 27 no objection came that these were unauthorized.
IV. He found two of the London Managers disregarding, changing and abrogating various of Bro. Russell's arrangements, for which on the authority of his credentials he dismissed them.
V. His course toward these two Managers was generally approved by the British brethren, particularly by the Tabernacle Congregation, the Bethel Family, especially Jesse Hemery and J.F.R.'s Investigation Commission, which Bro. Johnson neither sought unduly to influence, nor ignored.
VI. When J.F.R., despite the fact that the Board sent Bro. Johnson as the Society's, not as the President's representative, attempted to recall him and rescind his Society-sealed credentials, the latter ceased all activities for a week; then, realizing that J.F.R.'s course was unauthorized by, and usurpatory of, the Board, he resumed his activities, exercising no other authority than formerly, and appealed to the Board against J.F.R.'s course. Later, without authorization from, or knowledge of, the Board, J.F.R., in the name of the Society, cancelled his credentials, using the Society seal.
VII. Because of his opposition to Bro. Johnson's resumption of his activities, Jesse Hemery was suspended, but never dismissed, no force, nor violence, nor seizure of anything marking Bro. Johnson's course.
VIII. Bro. Johnson secured an injunction, primarily against the bank, and secondarily against Jesse Hemery, H.J. Shearn and Wm. Crawford; because it was the only way to prevent the three making operative a financial scheme against the Society. Unable to deposit monies in the bank, by authority of the High Court and by his counsel's advice, he had the proper official place this money in a safety deposit box to safeguard it, and prevent it from being improperly diverted by the three Managers through their scheme.
IX. As soon as he could safely leave the Society's interests in Britain, he returned to America to report conditions to the Board. J.F.R. prevented his having a full and fair hearing, greatly misrepresenting his activities to the Board and others.
X. Thwarted by J.F.R. from getting a fair hearing before the Board, he laid the case before five of its members individually, all of whom took his view of the British situation. He did not direct four of these in, and he knew nearly nothing in advance of, their moves in their controversy with the President. He knows nothing of their being in a conspiracy to wreck the Society, or depose the President; nor does he believe it true of them.
XI. He learned that J.F.R., W.E. Van Amburgh and A.H. MacMillan conspired to secure for the first named, Bro. Russell's full authority, beginning this before the election. They prearranged every detail in the proceedings of the voting shareholders' meeting by which he was elected. A week before the election J.F.R. placed in the hands of the Press a detailed account of these proceedings as news of past doings.
XII. J.F.R.'s opposition to Bro. Johnson is not so much due to the British matter, as to the latter's advocating the Board's controllership in the Society's affairs, as against the president's. The latter has systematically misrepresented him, especially in his "Harvest Siftings," whose setting as a whole and in many details is false. We will refer usually to the three British Managers by initials for short.
The reader is requested to note particularly the dates in this review. They serve in many cases to clarify the situation. Last summer Bro. Russell arranged for me to take the European trip; and after his death the Board of the W.T.B.&T.S., Nov. 2, decided to carry out his wishes, appointing a committee to confer with me on the trip. This was not the Executive
Committee, which was appointed Nov. 7 and with which my final understandings on the trip were reached. Having by correspondence, not by a visit, learned from the passports department at Washington, that if I were to be granted passports, especially for Germany and France, I would have to give strong reasons in writing to the department in Washington, I reported this fact to the committee appointed Nov. 2, especially to J.F.R., and asked for a letter, not for credentials. Without my offering even a hint as to what the letter should contain, J.F.R., entirely alone and unassisted by me, dictated a letter which may be called a letter of appointment; because it purported to offer me an appointment as a special representative of the Society with powers of attorney, or full power and authority in the work and business of the Society in certain foreign countries. It being necessary that the letter be sent immediately with my application for passports to the department, and not to make it appear that the letter was dictated the same morning that it was presented to the passport office in New York, it was dated Nov. 1, though actually dictated the morning of Nov. 3. Its only purpose was to enable me to get passports; and it was understood on that day, that my work was to be that of a Pilgrim only. When it was presented to W.E. Van Amburgh for his signature as the Society's secretary he hesitated to sign it, thinking that it offered too great powers; but when assured that it was not bonafide, he signed it. He did not make any objections to signing the credentials the morning of Nov. 11 because then he knew the credentials were bonafide. The letter of appointment was an altogether different thing from the credentials. This letter follows:
"Prof. Paul S.L. Johnson, New York City, N.Y.
"Dear Sir: The undersigned, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, as you are advised, is a religious corporation, incorporated under the laws of the State of
Pennsylvania, and maintaining an office in the City of New York; and is now, and for several years has been engaged in religious and philanthropic work throughout America and in foreign countries; that its work and business is incorporated in Great Britain under the name of the International Bible Students' Association. This corporation, or society, also maintains branches, and conducts its work in the following countries, to wit: Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Finland-Russia, Switzerland and France in its corporate name, to wit: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The President of this Society having recently died, and the condition of the Society's work and business in the above and foregoing foreign countries, due to the great war, is such that an imperative necessity has arisen that we at once send a special representative to those countries to carefully examine into the condition of the work and affairs of the Society and to make report thereof. Our Society, therefore, has this day appointed you as its special representative to perform such duties, and hopes you will accept the appointment. Your duties in the premises will be: to proceed without delay to Great Britain, and thereafter to the other countries named, to there carefully examine the books and other private papers of the Association kept and maintained in the countries herein above named; to investigate the financial condition of the work and affairs of the Society in said countries; and generally to do whatsoever is necessary, or may become immediately necessary, to protect our interests and work in said countries, FULL POWER AND AUTHORITY BEING HEREBY GIVEN AND GRANTED UNTO YOU TO DO AND PERFORM THE SAME. In connection with your duties above outlined, you will be expected, at such time or times as may be convenient, to preach the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to all who may desire to hear; to hold public religious meetings for such purposes and to do whatsoever in your judgment may be necessary to further the interests of the Society in spreading the Gospel in said countries. In witness whereof, the Society has caused this instrument to be signed with the corporate name and by its Vice-President, and attested by the Secretary and
the seal of the corporation this first day of November, A.D. 1916.
"WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY.
"Per A. I. RITCHIE, Vice-President.
"W.E. VAN AMBURGH, Secretary and Treasurer.”
That morning, Nov. 3, this letter and my application for passports were given to the proper officials at New York to forward to Washington. In due time the passports were granted. During that afternoon I remarked to J.F. Rutherford that I ought to have credentials to facilitate my entry especially into France and Germany. I said not a word as to what they should contain. They were not dictated until Nov. 10. At the time I asked for them it was understood that my powers were to be those of a pilgrim only. J.F.R. does not mention these credentials at all, which were addressed, not to the British Managers, but "to all whom these presents may come." The letter to the British Managers, dictated Nov. 10, was a third thing, and was quite different from the letter of appointment and the credentials; and was undoubtedly meant in good faith. So far there is substantial agreement between J.F.R.'s view and mine, as to the understanding of my powers Nov. 3. The following are the credentials, which as before said, were dictated Nov. 10, after the passports were granted which were dated by the Passports Department Nov. 4, a clear proof that the credentials could not, as J.F.R. claims, have been given me to secure passports.
"Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.
"TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS MAY COME GREETINGS!
"This is to certify that Prof. Paul S.L. Johnson of New York City has been appointed by this SocietyThe Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, an American corporation, as its special representative [I] with full power and authority to do and perform whatsoever things may be necessary in connection with the work and business of this corporation in any country to which he may be sent; [II]
to have power and authority to examine the property and stock of the various branches of this corporation outside of the United States; [III] and to call for and receive financial reports and other reports as to the general condition of the work of this Society from the person or persons in charge of the office or headquarters of any branch of this Society. [IV] He is also the fully accredited representative of the Society to lecture on and teach the Bible and to preach the Gospel in any country of the world. IN WITNESS WHEREOF WE have caused the corporate name of the Society to be signed to this instrument by its Vice-President, and to be duly attested by the signature of its Secretary and the seal of the corporation this 10th day of November, A.D. 1916.
"WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY.
"Per A. I. RITCHIE, Vice-President.
"W.E. VAN AMBURGH, Secretary."
It will be noticed that the credentials state four things as my powers. J.F.R. alone dictated these, unassisted by me, except that, he having difficulty in stating tersely my duties as a pilgrim, I suggested the following clause, which he accepted: "to lecture on and teach the Bible and to preach the Gospel." Between Nov. 8 and 10, and not before, whatever their thoughts might previously have been, at various times all of the members of the Executive Committee—Bros. Ritchie, Van Amburgh and Rutherford—asked me to do things marked [II] and [III] in the credentials. For example, Bro. Van Amburgh remarked: "Bro. Johnson, keep your eyes and ears wide open and your mouth shut, and get for us information on every line that would help us better to understand the business and work of the Society wherever you go." It was during these days that the idea grew in the Executive Committee that I was to act as special representative of the Society. All three members of this committee agree that I was sent as a special representative, as well as a pilgrim. Before the credentials were dictated, and after I noticed that of the four powers offered
me in the letter of appointment, the committee had asked me to exercise three, as well as spoke of me as the special representative of the Society, the title used of me in the authorization papers, the question arose in my mind, "I wonder, if, after all, the Committee does not mean the letter of appointment and the credentials that were to be dictated as genuine. I must find this out, so that I do not go beyond, nor fall short of, their desires in the matter." Accordingly, speaking of the letter of appointment and credentials, I asked them a question of the following import: Do these papers give a statement of the powers that you want me to exercise? Each member of the committee answered "Yes." The reason the Executive Committee decided to make the powers of my letter of appointment and my credentials actual is that the correspondence of the quarreling elders of the London Tabernacle was read by me Nov. 8, 9 and the night of the 9th was reported on by me to the Committee, which at once saw that I needed powers of attorney to handle the situation, as my pilgrim powers were not sufficient thereto. [For details see Vol. IV, Chapter IV, paragraph (41).] After my return from England, Bro. Ritchie was the only one of the three who remembered this question and answer. Bro. Van Amburgh, who would not sign the letter of appointment Nov. 3, until assured that it offered me fictitious powers, on my return told me that things were so hazy to his memory that he could not say whether this question was asked or not. A letter from Bro. Ritchie on this point follows:
"BROOKLYN, N. Y., Aug. 18, 1917.
"DEAR BROTHER JOHNSON:
"In reply to your inquiry, in the interests of justice I am pleased to say that I distinctly remember, and have always remembered, that before going to Great Britain last November you asked Bros. Rutherford, Van Amburgh and myself, if we wished you to exercise all the powers
outlined in the letter and the credentials written for you by Bro. Rutherford and signed by Bro. Van Amburgh and myself; and that each of us answered 'Yes.' From the time the first arrangements were made with you to go abroad, having in mind the disturbed condition of affairs in Europe, it was my desire that you not only preach and do regular pilgrim work; but that in a sense you also look into conditions there and advise us—and I understood this to be the thought of the other two members of the Executive Committee. I was surprised at the sweeping terms of the credentials, as drawn up by Bro. Rutherford; but thinking there might be some legal technicality requiring such phrasing, and thinking that you understood the credentials as we did I answered 'Yes' to your question. When, however, your letters showed that you considered that you had power to dismiss brethren from the office in London, I was very much surprised; and I must confess I had some misgivings. I did not, however, agree with Bro. Rutherford's handling the matter—considering that such an important affair should come before the Board of Directors. When I questioned him, he to my great surprise said it was something with which the Board had nothing whatever to do. It was then I began to see the trend of events here.
"Your Brother in the interests of the Truth,
[Signed] "A. I. RITCHIE."
Bro. Ritchie says that when he answered "Yes," he had in mind those things only of which the Committee expressly spoke, and all agree that no express mention was made of powers of attorney. As Bro. Ritchie did not grasp the full import of my question, so the other two brothers might not; and therefore their "Yes" might not have meant to them what it did to me. However, I understood their "Yes" to answer the question that I asked. Deeply do I now regret that I did not discuss in detail the first power of which the credentials speak. However, I did not invent the thought that I had powers of attorney. I got this thought from the Committee's answer to my question, which was plain and simple. If they misunderstood
the import of my question, it was not my fault; they are responsible for giving me the thought: The following facts prove that from the beginning of my visit in England, I believed that my papers meant what they said, and on the basis of such belief acted as I did. (1) As soon as possible after my arrival, I called the three Managers together, telling them that I had come, not simply as a pilgrim, but also as a special representative, whose powers were described in my letter of appointment and my credentials, which were then read. Then the Executive Committee's letter to the British Managers was read. Notice, please, that in this letter paragraph 11 shows that I was to exercise the third power mentioned in the credentials, while paragraph 12 shows that I was charged especially to visit the headquarters of the Society in the various countries, which was to perform, at least, the duties outlined in [II] and [III] in the credentials. This letter, which J.F.R. dictated, stated in paragraph 5 that the Society is controlled by its Board of Directors, a thing which he has many times since denied. Parts from a carbon copy of this letter follow:
"BROOKLYN, N. Y., November 10, 1916.
"Messrs. Hemery, Shearn & Crawford,
"Managers, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society,
"Dear Brethren In Christ:—Our dear Brother Paul S.L. Johnson will bear this message to you. He comes to render such assistance as is possible to the Church in Great Britain, and we are sure that each of you will be glad to cooperate with him. … [Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, which to save space will be omitted, treat of Bro. Russell's last days, death, funeral and will.] [Par. 5.] The affairs of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, and the other religious corporations organized in conjunction with it, will be managed exactly as they were in the life time of our dear Pastor. Being a corporation, it is, of course, controlled by its Board of Directors. Brother A.N. Pierson was elected on the Board immediately after
Brother Russell's death, and the Board of Directors now is composed of the following seven persons, to wit: Brother A. I. Ritchie, Brother A.N. Pierson, Brother J. D. Wright, Brother W.E. Van Amburgh, Brother H. C. Rockwell, Brother I. F. Hoskins, Brother J.F. Rutherford. [Paragraph 6 treats of the appointment of the Executive Committee; 7 of the coming election of the Society's officers; 8 treats of the effects and lessons of Bro. Russell's death; 9, 10 of British preparations for Brother Johnson's pilgrim tour. To save space these will be omitted.] [Par. 11.] We would be pleased to have you submit to Bro. Johnson a report of the condition of the Society's affairs in Great Britain, and of the work generally. It is not our thought that he should examine the books himself [The committee, fearing it would offend the managers, made an exception to the British books], but that you give to him such detailed information as may show the general condition of the Society's work there. [Par. 12.] It is our hope that Brother Johnson may be able to visit the Branches of our Society on the Continent. Please kindly render him such aid as is possible in this behalf. Assuring you of our love and best wishes, we remain,
"Your brethren and fellow-servants in Christ,
Thus it will be seen that at the first opportunity after my arrival in Britain, I showed the three Managers that I had full power and authority to act in the work and business of the Society. From that time on I acted from that standpoint. In my first batch of letters to Brooklyn, I reported the fact that I had shown the Managers my authorization papers as an evidence of my powers. No objection came from the Committee for this act in their letter of acknowledgment. Then and there they should have objected, if they thought that I was using the papers fraudulently.
(2) Dec. 5 I sent the Executive Committee my first batch of letters. In one of these, among other things, I stated that I had temporarily put the Pastoral Work in charge of Jesse Hemery; had appointed
the three Managers as a committee to examine the V. D. M. questions for the use of the churches at the coming annual elections; and, unlike the American procedure, was continuing Bro. Russell's sermons in the papers. To these executive acts they made no remonstrance in their letter of acknowledgment.
(3) I undertook to settle the Tabernacle difficulty, the difficulties between the Managers, and the revision of the convention program as soon as they brought these to my attention, all of which were done before Dec. 1, and I reported these things to the Executive Committee in my first letters. The Committee made no remonstrance in their letter of acknowledgment.
(4) I asked, Dec. 5, the Executive Committee to send me a copy of every letter that they sent to the London Managers, that we might not "cross" one another in our dealings with them. From that time on not only copies of the Executive Committee's, but later also of President Rutherford's letters were sent to me. As pilgrim and investigator I did not need them, but I did as special representative with powers of attorney.
(5) On Dec. 28 or 29 I wrote a letter to the Executive Committee, in which I asked them, as I was special representative, to deal with the Managers through me alone, as long as I was in Britain. If I did not believe that I had full power and authority in the Society's affairs, how could I have asked such a thing? No remonstrance was made to this request in the letter of acknowledgment. It was not answered. This request should have been answered, and I should have been told that I misunderstood my official powers, if they thought I did.
(6) Despite the fact that I so wrote, acted and reported these acts, which were based on the ground that I had full powers, I was never once told that I was going beyond my powers, until the "absolutely-without-authority cable" reached me Feb. 28, nearly
four weeks after I had dismissed H.J. Shearn and W. Crawford, which occurred Feb. 3. In a cablegram that reached me Feb. 19, J.F.R. showed that he was not pleased with the dismissal of these, and asked for their reinstallment. I was recalled in a cablegram sent by him Feb. 26, and that reached me Feb. 28. Though performing and reporting executive acts, I was not during those three months even once told that my duties were only those of an investigator and pilgrim, i.e., the things covered by points [II], [III] and [IV] in the credentials, as should have been done, had they considered me going beyond my duties and powers. Not only did the Committee, Nov. 10, give me the thought, by their affirmative answer to my question, but by their not remonstrating against any of my executive acts, they continued me in the thought that I had powers of attorney. They, not I, are responsible for my so thinking.
The following quotation from a letter that I wrote J.F.R., Jan. 27, shows that I had from the outstart reported to the Society at Brooklyn that I was performing executive acts in Britain, which were, of course, based on the thought that I had powers of attorney:
"Just yesterday through THE LABOR TRIBUNE did I find out that you were elected President of the W.T.B.&T.S. I rejoice with you in this privilege of service with which the Lord has honored you. You were my choice, and for that reason I requested Bro. Spill to cast my 416 voting shares in your favor. … It [my support] will be given to you without stint, as you follow the Lord's and our beloved Pastor Russell's teachings and policies, as I am sure you will. … Never did I learn to sympathize with our beloved Bro. Russell as I have learned to do since coming to England, and having administrative problems here, such as he had, to solve. … Through other communications—to the Executive Committee—you will have found out something of what I have been having to
unwrap. I know, my beloved brother, that you will have many, many problems of this kind to meet."
(7) My authorization papers were by my cooperation publicly and privately read to and by many as genuine.
J.F.R. knows all these facts and my understanding of the genuineness of my credentials. Why does he not mention them in his "Harvest Siftings"? Would their statement not have totally changed the impression that his "Harvest Siftings" gives?
Before I sailed I was so filled with apprehensions respecting the European Truth situation, and so weighed down by a sense of responsibility, because of the duties given me by the credentials that, when I was called on at Bethel to give the friends some farewell remarks, I could not make a satisfactory speech. Only at intervals was I able to utter a sentence. The reason was this: judging from what Bros. Russell, Pierson, Driscoll and the Executive Committee and others told me, as well as from certain Scriptures, I feared a sifting in every European country. Repeatedly I told this to the Committee, especially to J.F.R. Bro. Russell, Oct. 21, at Dallas, remarked to me that there were conditions in England of which he would give me details at Brooklyn before I sailed, and that his arrangements were being changed by responsible persons in England, who did not want to carry out his ideas, but were setting them aside for their own. At the time I did not understand his meaning, and he died before we were to talk things over at Brooklyn. After the Tabernacle trouble was laid before me, I understood. J. Hemery, on Sept. 17, had written Bro. Russell describing the "disloyalty" (J. Hemery's expression) of Wm. Crawford and H.J. Shearn in originating and engineering a movement to set aside Bro. Russell's controllership and arrangements in Tabernacle affairs, and lodge the controllership, not in the congregation, but in the Church Board. Bro. Russell
had received this letter, before he spoke to me of responsible brethren setting aside his arrangements.
While J.F.R. should have said that there was good and sufficient reason for my opposition to the dismissed managers, and while I believe the British churches ought to know of their offenses, to curb their present sifting activity, and although Wm. Crawford's misrepresentations, some of which are expressly endorsed in "Harvest Siftings," would justify me in self-defense in narrating the whole matter—I will, nevertheless, in charity refrain from exposing them to the whole Church. I made most loving efforts, especially with H.J. Shearn, to rescue them from their wrong course, and apart from mentioning for advice some of these matters to some of my counselors, who were unanimously recommended to me as such by all three Managers, I informed no one of their offenses, until they sought publicly to justify them. Then I spoke, not desiring the Church to be deceived. They offended on twenty-five counts in matters pertaining to the London Tabernacle; on twenty-two counts in matters pertaining to their office in the London Bethel, and on ten counts in matters pertaining to me in my official relation to them. See Vol. VII, Chapter I. J.F.R. knows of these offenses. At the voted request of the London Tabernacle congregation I appeared twice, i.e., Jan. 28 and Feb. 18, against them before the Church on Tabernacle matters only. The first time I spoke against them a small minority thought I treated them more severely than the facts warranted. This was because they knew hardly any of the facts of the case, which I misunderstandingly thought had been presented to them the previous Sunday. On this point J. Hemery, in a letter to me, dated Feb. 5, tells of a conversation that he had with a deacon of the church, respecting my action before the church Jan. 28, and of his own view of it in the following quotation: "I told him the serious view that you took of this act of
disloyalty to the Society's interests on the part of those who ought to have served the interests; but I can see that there is something of the feeling that too heavy blows were struck, more than the occasion called for. I am not of that opinion; and though I share with you the feeling that a heavy hand was laid on these brethren, I do not believe that it was more than their misdoing called for."
Throughout the London Tabernacle and Bethel difficulty J. Hemery worked in thorough accord with me against H.J. Shearn and W. Crawford, to whom for short we refer by their initials, J.H., H.J.S., W.C., until Feb. 26, when the "absolutely-without-authority" cable from J.F.R. arrived, when J.H. from a most ardent helper turned immediately into an opponent, who claimed not to be a partaker of the dispute, as his cable of Feb. 26 to J.F.R. shows: "Johnson claims full control everything; I resist as your representative. Dispute with co-managers, his not mine. Los Angeles cable (the "absolutely-without-authority" one, which reached London that morning) has attention. What are Johnson's powers?" J.H. gave me more evidence on their misdeeds than all others combined, and publicly and privately commended my course until Feb. 26. I took him as my confidential adviser, and did nothing of any importance without his advice and co-operation. I loved him most ardently, trusted him most fully, and treated him most kindly; but his conduct toward me after Feb. 26, is one of the greatest disappointments of my life. The whole London Tabernacle congregation and the Bethel family know that the dispute with H.J.S. and W.C. was his as well as mine, his originally; and that he supported me in everything before my recall. As for the other involved elders, I treated them leniently; and after their apology recommended them favorably to the church, though I later decided to recommend their dismissal. J.H. misrepresented me when he told the
congregation that I intended to dismiss their elected elders, and force my way into the pulpit.
After hearing me Feb. 18, the congregation unanimously voted me confidence, thanks and appreciation for what 1 had done in their defense against H.J.S. and W.C. Every point that I brought forth on that day was proven by many witnesses in the congregation as I made it. It might be said that even after they had made their final answer, March 4, without reply from me, and J.H. and J.F.R. had represented me as a fraud and a rebel, and the latter had put the influence of his presidential powers back of the two brothers, whitewashing them to the extent of placing them again into office as Managers; and had through J.H. on April 1, assured the congregation of his disapproval of my speaking against them before the congregation (it was done both times at the voted request of the church); the congregation voted them down almost unanimously and would not even have them as deacons, much less as elders! The facts that the congregation refused almost unanimously to elect them, unanimously voted me confidence, thanks and appreciation, and the reasons for my activity against them in the Tabernacle matter, J.F.R. well knows. Why did he not in his "Harvest Siftings" mention these things, which put a wholly different light on the matter?
For their offenses I concluded that the situation was unworkable and intolerable; and having in mind that H.J.S. had, Jan. 11, written me that he would on the following Monday forward his "formal resignation" to Brooklyn; that I had already, Jan. 21, informed the Executive Committee that their dismissal was in my judgment the sole solution of the situation, feeling sure it would be satisfactory to the Society, after advising over the matter with J.H., and finding our minds one on the subject, I decided, Feb. 3, to dismiss them, dictating the letter of dismissal in his
presence. After I had finished, I asked him what he thought of it; and after approval he suggested adding the following sentences which I accepted: "I desire that you leave the office at once, and the Bethel premises as soon as possible, turning over to me all the Society's and Association's monies, documents, papers." W.C. left Feb. 13, and H.J.S. not before Feb. 23. I immediately cabled the Society at Brooklyn my act, fully convinced not only that I had the power to dismiss them; but also that, on account of my detailed descriptions of their wrong-doings, my action would have the unqualified support of the Society. Indeed, about Jan. 1, fearing that the Society would prematurely order their dismissal, I advised the Committee to wait awhile, until I could prepare the friends for such action. Imagine my astonishment at the "absolutely-withoutauthority" cablegram.
Apart from speaking of these troubles to some of my counselors I did not mention them to anybody, until H.J.S. and W.C. began to agitate the subject among the British friends, and then apart from announcing the dismissals at Edinburgh, mentioned their activities to but four congregations. In my activity against them Bro. McCloy assured me that I had the solid support of nine of every ten of the British brethren. I was the recipient of many letters from all parts of the country, in some cases signed by many persons, assuring me of sympathy, support and cooperation. The work that I did was frequently referred to as a cleansing of the Lord's house. Especially did J.H. express his unbounded approval of what I did, until his sudden change on Feb. 26. He and many others said that I was sent in answer to prayer to comfort and deliver the brethren, and that the Lord blessed my efforts with success. A few quotations from letters from various ones follow; first some from J.H. Feb. 5, 1917, two days after the dismissal, in a letter reporting conditions to J.F.R., a
carbon copy of which he furnished me, he said in part as follows:
"It is a matter of deep regret to me that the conditions here have been such that Bro. Johnson has felt compelled to take the drastic steps, of which you have been advised by cable. To me, all this is an answer to prayer. … I can truly say that in this crisis which is now upon us, that I have neither precipitated it in any way, either in the cause or in the crisis itself, nor has Bro. Johnson. He came quite evidently wishing to help us all. My colleagues began to pour their wishes into his ears. He made some investigation; he saw for himself that which had been hidden within my mind. He spoke, then acted, and point by point has driven him to take these extreme measures, because they set themselves in opposition to him, instead of co-operating with him. I feel sure, dear Brother Rutherford, that the Lord will very soon indicate His way, and that you will, while having some pain because of this matter, nevertheless soon get the assurance of heart that all is going well with the work in Britain. I believe that we shall enter upon a better work with a closer union with Headquarters, which will still more praise the Lord. … The events of the Tabernacle are rather unusual just now. Through the introduction of this matter to Bro. Johnson he found it necessary to speak plainly to my Colleagues. Bro. Johnson made some inquiries as to how the recent letter, which was in the form of a petition to Bro. Russell, originated. He discovered for himself that it was originated in the office here. Bro. Johnson found it necessary to speak plainly to my Colleagues over this matter, and to ask them to take a certain course. They refused, practically flouting him and his authority. He gave them clear warning what he must do, but they persisted, and he found it necessary to speak very plainly to the Congregation of the action of these two Brothers, who, while professing allegiance to Bro. Russell, had nevertheless done something which was cutting at the very heart of the Church's allegiance. There was an attempt to deceive the Elders by making them believe it was Bro. Russell's wish to have a change in the Tabernacle arrangements, because he had asked them to take a share with me in the preaching services. And there was an attempt to