Reorganization and the birth of the theocracy
 Administrative changes
On his release from prison, Rutherford began a major reorganization of Bible Student activities. At a May, 1919 convention in Ohio he announced the publication of a new magazine, The Golden Age (today known as Awake!); since Russell's will had decreed the Society should publish no other periodicals the new magazine was at first published by "Woodworth, Hudgings & Martin", with a Manhattan (rather than Brooklyn) address. Within months Bible Students were organized to distribute it door-to-door. He expanded the Society's printing facilities, revived the colporteur work and in 1920 introduced the requirement for weekly reports of Bible Students' preaching activity. He expanded and reorganized overseas branch offices in what he regarded as a "cleansing" and "sifting" work. Beginning with an eight-day assembly at Cedar Point, Ohio in 1922 Rutherford launched a series of major international conventions under the theme "Advertise the King and Kingdom", attracting crowds of up to 20,000, who were urged to "herald the message far and wide". "Behold the King!" Rutherford told them. "You are his publicity agents." He stressed that the prime purpose of all Bible Students was to preach publicly in fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, especially in the form of door-to-door evangelism with the Society's publications.
A 1920 booklet by Rutherford, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, a best-seller translated into 11 languages including Yiddish, and supported by a major speaking program and newspaper advertisements, predicted the "full restoration of mankind" in 1925 accompanied by the resurrection of Jewish patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Rutherford later admitted "I made an ass of myself" with the prediction, but continued to claim the end of the world was "near at hand".
In 1921, Rutherford published his first book, The Harp of God, eventually following it up with another nineteen books, each with one-word titles, such as Creation (1927), Jehovah (1934) and Children (1941). His publications reached a total of 36 million copies.
In 1925 he gained total control over what doctrines would be taught in Watch Tower publications, overruling the refusal by the five-man Editorial Committee to publish his doctrinally revolutionary article, "The Birth of a Nation". Rutherford later claimed Satan had "tried to prevent the publication of that article ... but failed in that effort" and the 1933 Watch Tower Yearbook observed that the subsequent demise of the Editorial Committee indicated "that the Lord himself is running his organization". The committee was removed in 1931 and Rutherford wrote every leading article in The Watch Tower from then until his death.
Rutherford expanded his means of spreading the Watch Tower message in 1924 with the start of 15-minute radio broadcasts, initially from WBBR, based on Staten Island, and eventually via a network of as many as 480 radio stations. A 1931 talk was broadcast throughout North America, Australia and France, but the virulence of his attacks on the clergy was strong enough to result in both the NBC and BBC radio networks banning him from the airwaves. Later still, in the late 1930s, he advocated the use of "sound cars" and portable phonographs with which talks by Rutherford were played to passersby and householders. (So I did not make this up)
At a 1931 Bible Student assembly in Columbus, Ohio Rutherford proposed a new name for the organization, Jehovah's witnesses, to differentiate his followers from the proliferation of other groups that followed Russell's teachings. Bible Students who opposed or abandoned Rutherford to form new groups were increasingly described as the "evil servant class" and his followers were told it was wrong to pray for those who were "unfaithful".
The door-to-door preaching program was extended to formally include "back calls" on interested people and Witnesses were urged to start one-hour Bible studies in the homes of householders. With the increased emphasis on preaching came a stronger push for centralized control of congregations. Service directors, who reported back to Brooklyn, were appointed in each congregation and a weekly "service meeting" introduced to meeting programs. Rutherford impressed on elders the need to obey without complaint "regulations", "instructions" and "directions" from the Society. When many congregations balked at the new regulations, Rutherford from 1928 began a drive to abolish the system of elective congregation elders, dismissing them as "haughty" and "lazy" and asserting in 1932 that the office of elder was unscriptural. In 1938 he introduced the term "theocracy" to describe the government of the religion, with Consolation explaining: "The Theocracy is at present administered by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, of which Judge Rutherford is the president and general manager." "Zone servants" (now known as circuit overseers) were appointed to supervise congregations and in a Watchtower article Rutherford declared the need for congregations to "get in line" with the changed structure.
By 1942, the year of his death, worldwide attendance at the annual Memorial of Christ's death was 140,450 – more than six times the number attending when he succeeded Russell as Watch Tower president. However his restructuring of the Bible Student community coincided with a dramatic loss of followers during the 1920s and 1930s. Worldwide attendance of the annual Memorial of Christ's death fell from 90,434 in 1925 to 17,380 in 1928. Memorial attendance figures did not surpass 90,000 again until 1940. Author Tony Wills, who analyzed attendance and "field worker" statistics, suggests it was the "more dedicated" Bible Students who quit through the 1920s, to be replaced by newcomers in larger numbers, although Rutherford dismissed the loss of the original Bible Students as the Lord "shaking out" the unfaithful. In the 1942 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Rutherford wrote that the year's achievements "would, on the face of it, show that the Theocratic witness work on earth is about done".
The man was dynamic no doubt. I think it fascinating no doubt.
However I can't make this stuff up so yes I guilty of having a poor imagination.
I love the word virulence.