August 2006

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence - 1 Peter 3:15
Beth-Shan Another Beth-Sarim?

One of the most visible, blatant abuses of Watch Tower power and authority was the purchase and development of prime real estate in San Diego in 1928 for the expected return of biblical heroes such as King David, Abraham and Moses. The leadership was proud of this important preparation for the kingdom of God and informed trusting witnesses that Beth-Sarim was a confirmation of their faith and testimony to Jehovah:

It stands there as a testimony to Jehovah's name; and when the princes do return, and some of them occupy the property, such will be a confirmation of the faith and hope that induced the building of Beth Sarim." - Salvation, J.F. Rutherford, p. 311

While Watch Tower President, "Judge" Joseph F. Rutherford was enjoying the paradise like conditions of San Diego at Beth-Sarim, a secret property was also purchased near Beth-Sarim in 1939 with similar expectations but NEVER discussed in Watch Tower literature. This secret 75 acre prime real estate property was also expected to house the resurrected Moses and other heroes of the faith. The added benefit was since they were expected to return shortly, just prior to Armageddon and worldwide wars, they would have 2 hidden underground bomb shelters protected with 3 feet of concrete overhead and storage provisions for months.

They would be totally self sufficient at Beth-Shan with their own 425 foot well and 10,000 gallon storage tank. Electricity would be provided by a state of the art diesel powered generator and a 4,000 gallon underground tank for diesel fuel. Water was piped to the house and 2 fire hydrants would protect them from fires. The real beauty of such a secure compound is there was plenty of room for the safety of the Watch Tower leadership as well. Perhaps they could bring Abraham and his friends up to speed on the marvels of the 20th century and assist in the preparation of the Kingdom of God.

Beth-Shan is mentioned only ONCE by name in the Watch Tower publication, Consolation, predecessor to the "Awake!" magazine. The context is an article concerning the requested 1 man cemetery plot for Judge Rutherford since the original burial request at Beth-Sarim was denied.

"The judge decided to continue the case so that the new site could be brought before the Planning Commission... the second plot was a proper place for burial.... The Planning Commission, who deliberated for more than two weeks, investigating the site, was haled before the court, and denied the second application for a cemetery.... New location for interment was almost in the center of the property known as Beth-Shan, which is roughly 75 acres of canyon and mesa land, adjoining Beth-Sarim but separated by a half-mile width of canyon." (May 27, 1942 Consolation, p. 9)

The immediate personal use of this home and facilities in mild weather San Diego would be immediately available to Rutherford. However, the deed to the property makes it appear this was for the noble reason of providing a haven for the arrival of faithful men and women of old as Abraham, Moses, Rahab, and Sarah. A portion of the deed of trust reads as follows:

NOW THEREFORE this trust is created and the said trustee shall hold the title to said property in trust for the use and benefit of the following named persons, whose names appear in the Bible at the Book of Hebrews, chapter eleven, verses one to forty, to wit: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David, Samuel. Until such time as the aforementioned persons return and identify themselves to the legal representatives of the said WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY and by the consent of said Society take possession and control of said premises, the President of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY shall have the right and be duty bound to direct the management and use of said premises…"

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Unlike Beth-Sarim, this facility would be far more secure from the predicted coming of Armageddon. 2 bomb shelters, a diesel powered generator with a 4,000 gallon underground tank for diesel fuel, and 10,000 gallons of water storage with 2 fire hydrants.

It wasn't long before rumors among witnesses began to be spread about this haven of security, which apparently prompted a rather vague response from the Watch Tower leadership:

"Some unreliable person is responsible for the circulation of a report that Beth-Sarim is being enlarged as a place of security and that this is being built by the Society. There is absolutely not one word of truth in the report. Those who are interested in the Theocracy would better be circulating the kingdom message rather than false imaginations of others." (The Watchtower, June 1, 1940, p. 162)

Perhaps the leadership felt justified in stating "Beth-Sarim" was not being enlarged as a place of security, but the fact is the nearby Watch Tower property Beth-Shan certainly was.

No doubt Rutherford believed his wild speculation about the nearness of Armageddon and was preparing this haven of safety from the soon to be experienced explosions and poison he predicted years earlier:

… the next war will be…an annihilation! There will be poison and explosion everywhere, beneath the whole canopy of the heavens… (Golden Age, June 2, 1926, p. 55)

Author and researcher, Edward Gruss, interviewed Fred Eason, a eye witness to the goat barn bomb shelter. Fred Eason said he saw the underground shelter shortly after it's sale in 1945. He described the underground shelter with its secret entrance as a:

"...building that was called the 'goat barn' which was used to stable their goats. To enter the shelter one would go to the small bathroom area at the rear of the building, open the medicine cabinet, and pull a concealed lever inside. A section of the wall would swing open, revealing a star way down into what can only be identified as a bomb shelter--a room about 30 feet x 15 feet, with a 10 foot high ceiling. The walls were lined with storage shelves. The cement ceiling of the room was 3 feet thick!" (interview with Fred Eason as documented in "Jehovah's Witnesses Their Monuments to False Prophecy, Edmond Gruss, p. 75)


The building at upper right is the main Beth-Shan residence. The arrow points to the “goat barn” which had the secret bomb shelter (as did the main residence). Photo taken after the sale of Beth-Shan 1945.
(photo courtesey of Edmund Gruss)


1963 Aerial photo of Beth-Shan. Extensive grading on the property
revealed the hidden “goat barn” bomb shelter (arrow).
(photo courtesy of Edmond Gruss)

Not only did the princes NOT return to claim the estate as prophesied by Rutherford, but the Society simply ignored the promised trust to the princes and quietly sold the property soon after Rutherfords death.

This is powerful evidence that the "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society" is NOT God's mouthpiece for truth and is simply a man made religious system.

The Bible warns of these false prophets who inwardly are ravening wolves.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Mat 7:15)

The apostle Paul warned of false apostles who appear as ministers of righteousness:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

2 Cor 11:13-15

LORD GOD ALMIGHTY,

Thy understanding is unsearchable and infinite, Thy arm cannot be stayed, All works hang on thy care.

At the cross may I contemplate the evil of sin, and abhor it, look on him whom I pierced, as one slain for me, and by me.

May I never despise his death by fearing its efficacy for may salvation.

And whatever cross I am required to bear, let me see him carrying a heavier.

Teach me in health to think of sickness, in the brightest hours to be ready for darkness; in life prepare me for death.

Thus may my soul rest in thee, O immortal and transcendent one, revealed as thou art in the Person and work of thy Son,

the Friend of sinners.

(The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers and Devotions, p.70,71)

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