Joseph Franklin Rutherford, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Date of Death


Joseph Franklin Rutherford

American judge

Date of Birth: 08-Nov-1869

Place of Birth: Morgan County, Missouri, United States

Date of Death: 08-Jan-1942

Profession: judge, lawyer, politician

Nationality: United States

Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

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About Joseph Franklin Rutherford

  • Joseph Franklin Rutherford (November 8, 1869 – January 8, 1942), also known as Judge Rutherford, was the second president of the incorporated Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.
  • He played a primary role in the organization and doctrinal development of Jehovah's Witnesses, which emerged from the Bible Student movement established by Charles Taze Russell. Rutherford began a career in law, working as a court stenographer, trial lawyer and prosecutor.
  • He became a special judge in the 14th Judicial District of Missouri at some time after 1895.
  • He developed an interest in the doctrines of Watch Tower Society president Charles Taze Russell, which led to his joining the Bible Student movement, and he was baptized in 1906.
  • He was appointed the legal counsel for the Watch Tower Society in 1907, as well as a traveling representative prior to his election as president in 1917.
  • His early presidency was marked by a dispute with the Society's board of directors, in which four of its seven members accused him of autocratic behavior and sought to reduce his powers.
  • The resulting leadership crisis divided the Bible Student community and contributed to the loss of one-seventh of adherents by 1919 and thousands more by 1931.
  • Rutherford and seven other Watch Tower executives were imprisoned in 1918 after charges were laid over the publication of The Finished Mystery, a book deemed seditious for its opposition to World War I.Rutherford introduced many organizational and doctrinal changes that helped shape the current beliefs and practices of Jehovah's Witnesses.
  • He imposed a centralized administrative structure on the worldwide Bible Student movement, which he later called a theocracy, requiring all adherents to distribute literature via door to door preaching and to provide regular reports of their preaching activity.
  • He also instituted training programs for public speaking as part of their weekly meetings for worship.
  • He established 1914 as the date of Christ's invisible return, asserted that Christ died on a tree rather than a cross, formulated the current Witness concept of Armageddon as God's war on the wicked, and reinforced the belief that the start of Christ's millennial reign was imminent.
  • He condemned the observance of traditional celebrations such as Christmas and birthdays, the saluting of national flags and the singing of national anthems.
  • He introduced the name "Jehovah's witnesses" in 1931 and the term "Kingdom Hall" for houses of worship in 1935.He wrote twenty-one books and was credited by the Society in 1942 with the distribution of almost 400 million books and booklets.
  • Despite significant decreases during the 1920s, overall membership increased more than sixfold by the end of Rutherford's 25 years as president.

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