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
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.
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
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
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
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
There will be poison and explosion everywhere, beneath the whole
canopy of the heavens
(Golden Age, June 2, 1926,
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
"...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.
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.
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
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
Thus may my soul rest in thee, O immortal and
transcendent one, revealed as thou art in the Person and work of
the Friend of sinners.
(The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers
and Devotions, p.70,71)
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