"If you spend 15 minutes reading each of Rutherford's books you would get more pleasure than you would reading the Bible for a whole year" (Vindication, 1932, Vol. 3, p.383).
As funny as these statements are, the really funny thing is that the secretary of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society was asked to defend such statements in a congressional hearing (I betcha didn't know that a bill, namely H.R. 7986, was proposed in Congress on account of Rutherford's radio broadcasts). The secretary in question was Arthur R. Goux (later replaced by Donald Haslett) who testified in the House of Representatives on Friday, 16 March 1934. He was grilled by Rep. John Young Brown (D, Kentucky) and Rep. William I. Sirovich (D, New York). After putting him on the spot on the dogmatism of these statements, Goux defended them by essentially claiming that Rutherford writes what God wants him to write. Very funny stuff! Below is a partial transcript of his testimony (taken from "Radio Broadcasting," Hearings Before the Committee on Merchant Marine, Radio, and Fisheries, House of Representatives, 73rd Congress Second Session, on H.R. 7986, 1934, pp. 70-76). Enjoy!!!!
THE CHAIRMAN. Go ahead with your statement.
MR. BROWN. That little card there, that you read to us, I believe said that if you will read this booklet, some of these booklets that you hand us here, and follow them, that you can make no mistake. Is that what the card says? I think I remember it -- it says, "You can make no mistake."
MR. GOUX. It reads: "This booklet explains the whole matter so clearly that with it as a guide you can make no mistake."
MR. BROWN. Who wrote all these booklets?
MR. GOUX. The authorship is indicated on the first page.
MR. BROWN. But cannot you answer? Judge Rutherford wrote them, did he not?
MR. GOUX. Judge Rutherford wrote that particular one you refer to.
MR. BROWN. He wrote all these books. Now, is there anything more arbitrary about any of these creeds which you condemn than that statement there -- that if you will follow the direction of Judge Rutherford, you can make no mistake? Is there any creed you can think of that is narrower or more arbitrary than that creed -- if you follow what Judge Rutherford says, you can make no mistake?
MR. GOUX. The statement here relates to the subject matter presented in that booklet for consideration of the reader.
MR. BROWN. That is interpreted by Judge Rutherford, is it not?
MR. GOUX. No, sir; it is not. It is the instruction set forth in the Word of God, which is submitted for the consideration of those who desire to know the Bible.
MR. SIROVICH. But "big business" and political rulers have joined hands together, as he states. Ipse dixit. He said that; the Bible doesn't say that.
MR. GOUX. The proof is presented in the booklet, sir.
MR. SIROVICH. You can pick out any statement of the Bible and prove anything.
MR. GOUX. No; you cannot.
MR. SIROVICH. Oh yes you can. If there is anything honorable, beautiful, wonderful in the Bible, that needs no explanation to make it true; and if there is anything unclean, obnoxious, or offensive in the Bible, all you can say cannot make it the truth; and, simply because Judge Rutherford says it is the truth does not make it so.
MR. BROWN. In the booklet you call "Cause of Death" on the front page of which is the picture of a beautiful young lady picking an apple -- I do not know whether she is a member of the nudist colony, so-called,or I do not know whether that is where the expression came from, "Oh death, where is thy sting?" --
MR. SIROVICH. But you notice down below is the snake; and that shows the sting.
MR. BROWN. I did not see the snake; I was looking at the young lady. [Laughter.] But, anyway, in the back of it you ask quite a few questions and, among others is: "Would you make all sick people well and healthy? Would you cause the lame to be made sound and straight?" -- and a bunch of other things. Then it says, "Of course, every sane person" wants to do these things, and then you ask the question, "Then why does not God, the great Creator, who the Bible declares is all-wise, all-love and all-powerful, do these things?" Then you say, "Ponder over the above for a time and then ask yourself what it would be worth to you, in peace of mind and genuine satisfaction, to have a reasonable, believable, consistent explanation of the matter." Then you say -- "That's just what you will find in Judge Rutherford's famous set of ten books." And you send in your card that "if you read what Judge Rutherford says, you cannot go wrong."
Now, I want you to name me a church creed that is more dogmatic, that is narrower, that is more arbitrary, than this statement there of Judge Rutherford -- that if you will accept what I say to you, you cannot go wrong?
MR. GOUX. This statement is made not for the purpose of getting people to consider what Judge Rutherford says, but to turn --
MR. BROWN. It says Judge Rutherford will explain it to you, here.
MR. GOUX. But to turn their attention to the subject matter, that facts are presented in these publications which everyone may consider and check with his own Bible right in their own home, and demonstrate that it is not human opinion, that it is not the theory of any creature, but it is the expression of the purpose of the Almighty Creator as that purpose is clearly set forth in the Word of God.
MR. BROWN. Taking this pamphlet "Cause of Death", I want you to read that section there which says Judge Rutherford will give an explanation of the matter and join that with the statement that if you follow this booklet and explanation you cannot go wrong. Then I want you to name a church creed -- and I do not limit it to the Christian religion -- that is more dogmatic than that creed set out on that little card that you give to the people at the door. Name me just any creed that is more dogmatic than that.
MR. GOUX. As I have already stated, the work of Jehovah's witnesses is not founded on any creed; it is the service of Bible instruction.
MR. BROWN. That is correct, and these instructions sent out by Judge Rutherford say if you follow according to that theory there, your card, you cannot go wrong. Now, I want you to name me some religious leader who was ever narrower, ever more arbitrary, ever more dogmatic, in his teachings than Judge Rutherford, according to that statement I read there?
MR. SIROVICH. And how much do those 10 volumes cost, that you sell at the same time?
MR. BROWN. Two dollars and a half, I believe it is.
MR. GOUX. The cost includes the production of them, the distribution of them, and in most cases is much greater than any contribution that any one receives for them.
MR. BROWN. Let me ask you another question. I want you to name me some patent medicine ad that is more certain of its cure of an existing disease than Judge Rutherford's statement in there of his cure of the doubt in the human mind about the failure of God to cure these human defects?
MR. GOUX. I will answer that, sir, by merely pointing to the fact that this publication is not an expression of any human opinion.
MR. BROWN. It is written by Judge Rutherford, is it not?
MR. GOUX. So is the Bible written by man, but by arrangement of the Great Creator in the expression of his purpose.
MR. BROWN. That is right. Now did the Great Creator arrange with Judge Rutherford to write those books and sell them for $2.50 for 10?
MR. GOUX. The information set forth in those books will speak for itself and it may be discerned by anyone who desires to understand the facts that it is not human opinion.
MR. BROWN. Who gave this information to Judge Rutherford, for instance, that "big business" has joined with the churches?
MR. GOUX. That is clearly set forth in the prophecies in the Scriptures. For instance, you may have the three books "Vindication" 1, 2, and 3, which clearly portray the things that are foretold in the prophecy of Ezekiel on that very subject.
MR. BROWN. Now, Judge Rutherford sets himself up as a judge or interpreter of the Scriptures and anybody who agrees with him cannot go wrong, cannot make a mistake, and anyone who disagrees with him is already mistaken.
MR. GOUX. He does not set himself up as a judge.
MR. BROWN. That is what the statement says, does it not?
MR. GOUX. No, sir.
MR. BROWN. That if you follow him, you cannot be mistaken, and, by innuendo, if you do not follow him, you are already mistaken?
MR. GOUX. Not at all.
MR. BROWN. What does it mean?
MR. GOUX. That is entirely unfair and is an inaccurate inference.
MR. BROWN. What does that statement mean when it says if you follow this information you cannot go wrong?
MR. GOUX. For the person that the information is given in the Word of God is the truth.
MR. BROWN. That is Dr. Rutherford's statement.
MR. GOUX. And the information contained in those publications that you hold directs the reader to a consideration of the Scriptures, and anyone who will examine them in an unbiased frame of mind will very quickly satisfy himself that it does relate to the Scriptures, to the purpose of the great Author of the Scriptures -- not Judge Rutherford, but the Creator, Jehovah.
MR. BROWN. But is not the booklet an explanation of Judge Rutherford's opinion?
MR. GOUX. It is not.
MR. BROWN. His opinion of the Bible?
MR. GOUX. No, sir; emphatically not.
MR. SIROVICH. Well, is it not a matter of biblical knowledge to all students of the Bible that there really have been two parts to the Bible; one the information that God gave to Moses upon Mount Sinai, which contains the decalogue, which is the foundation upon which the superstructure of all government rests? The knowledge that we find in the Holy Bible that is in the form of spoken language. which is known in the Semitic language as the torah she balsav, means the written knowledge, in contradistinction to torah she balpe' that comes from mouth to mouth and lip to lip.
The form of biblical knowledge which was given by God to Moses upon Mount Sinai, which is known as the torah she balpe' was the inspired, interpolated knowledge of the text of the Holy Bible, and which only a few selected people were privileged to understand. Legend tells us that this inspired knowledge, the torah she balpe', was supposed to be given by Moses to Joshua from lip to lip. Joshua transmitted it to the Judges. The last Judge (Samuel) bequeathed it to the anointed King Saul. From Saul it went to David; from David to his son Solomon, and from Solomon it is supposed to have been transmitted to all the prophets as Elisha, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Josiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Malachi,a nd from there to the scribes as transmitted to the great Rabbis, like Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Schammi and from them down to Rabbi Jehude Hanasi, who, under the cowardly attack of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, was compelled to preserve this knowledge by inscribing it in six great books.
Dr. Rutherford has taken to himself the attitude of an inspired prophet to declare and decree to our country that he typifies and represents that kind of prophet. Is not that right?
MR. GOUX. No sir; it is not.
MR. SIROVICH. Then how does he get any other kind of interpretation than what he breathes into it himself?
MR. GOUX. Jesus pointed out that even in his day there were men who were purveying among the people the traditions that had been handed down from the fathers, and that they by their traditions made void and noneffect the Word of God.
MR. SIROVICH. I would like to advice the distinguished witness that even in the days of the Savior we had controversy, conflict, and agitation regarding religious and political ideals. The first and oldest political party was called the Sadducees, who symbolized the cabalistic class of their day. They were the rich aristocrats, the great reactionaries and conservative forces of their time ... The second political party were called the Pharisees. They were the democrats of the time.... [Mr. Sirovich then lists three other Jewish parties, the Essenes, Zealots, and Scribes]
So, Mr. Witness, you can readily recognize that even in those days there was no unanimity of expression. Conflict of opinion was present then as it is present today. Nothing was dogmatic and the same agitation, discord, and strife that prevails today was found amongst those older people. So neither you nor any other group has the right to claim ownership of all the dogmatic virtues that you contend the Witnesses of Jehovah are heir to. There were those five creeds, and between those five creeds you have five contrary things that no one would subscribe to, and here you come to us and give us the opinion of one or two or three, who would hold everyone down in this country to the ideals and interpretation of Dr. Rutherford and his followers think everybody else should accept. Now since they were highly controversial matters in those days, why should you dogmatically, speaking as Mr. Brown so ably brought out, insist upon everyone that Dr. Rutherford says as the Gospel truth, which it cannot be, because there was no time in the history of the religious despots that went on 20 centuries ago when they could agree, and now how could you get uniform expression and uniform interpretation of the Bible?
THE CHAIRMAN. Do not let us get too deep into a scriptural discussion.
MR. RAMSPECK. Mr. Chairman, it is all very interesting, but our Constitution provides for the separation of Church and State, and we cannot pass on any religious dispute....
MR. SIROVICH. Do you believe that big business, political rulers and big churchmen have joined hands together and that it is that combine that has gained control of the gold and other property of the world and, as instruments of Satan, have brought about oppresion of the people?
MR. GOUX. I do.
MR. SIROVICH. You believe that?
MR. GOUX. I do.
MR. SIROVICH, Who are the political rulers; name them.
MR. GOUX. Well the political rulers are the ones who are in charge of the affairs of politics.
MR. SIROVICH. Well who are they; name them.
MR. GIFFORD. Do you want me to help you? [Laughter.]
MR. GOUX. It would be a pretty long list.
MR. SIROVICH. Give them to me; give me the political rulers that are ruling our country today, that are doing just what you characterize.
MR. GOUX. Well, I would say that everyone who is not on the side of Jehovah and carrying forward according to His purpose, as specially expressed in His Word, would come within that category.
MR. SIROVICH. That is answering by evasion. Who are the big political rulers who have done that?
MR. WERTZ. May I say --
MR. SIROVICH. No; I am asking this gentleman; because he confirmed the statement I just read. Now, since you cannot name specifically any big political rulers, name the big churchmen who are doing that.
MR. GOUX. I would say that in the same way, everyone who has taken his stand for a selfish purpose and, therefore, in opposition to the purpose that Jehovah plainly sets forth in His Word.
MR. SIROVICH. That is simply a diarrhea of words. I am asking you to name the men.
MR. GOUX. I am not bringing any case against any individual --
MR. SIROVICH. That is what I am asking. You say big business, political rulers, and big churchmen have joined hands together.
MR. GOUX. Everyone who has --
MR. SIROVICH. Now, I am asking you to name some of those men who would fall under this category.
MR. GOUX. Everyone that is involved in the organization that is moving forward to accomplish the purpose that they have combined to carry through.