When “Judge” Rutherford visited New Zealand in 1938 he met a mostly hostile reception. As Rutherford was driven to the Auckland Town Hall to deliver a lecture, “…his attention was drawn to a newspaper placard bearing a distortion of the title of a lecture he had given years earlier.” [Watchtower, March 1, 1985, p. 28]
What was the name of that original lecture? What was the theme and promise that was part of Watchtower president J. F. Rutherford’s world famous public-speaking program that began on September 25, 1920 and continued for many years after?
During a Brooklyn, NY, circuit assembly in the early 1990s, the very prim and proper wife (I might add “prudish” too), of a prominent man in the Service Department, a former district overseer, left her seat while the program was in session and slowly walked up the aisle to the back of the auditorium. We paid little attention to her as she walked by. (She was sitting down in front of the auditorium near the platform and we were sitting near the back. Joe had an aisle seat and I was sitting next to him.)
The following account is a humorous one. In time, it became known among many Jehovah’s Witnesses as an “urban legend,” but the story is true and actually took place in our assigned congregation in Brooklyn, New York, during the time we were in Bethel.
During one particular Service Meeting, my husband, Joe, and I were sitting down front in the middle section of chairs in the Kingdom Hall. We were in the third row. I was sitting next to Joe who was sitting in an aisle seat. He was right behind a very immense woman who I shall call, Sister Overweight. I could see Sister Overweight clearly while she was wiggling out of her arm-chair to go to the platform where she was going to relate a field service experience. Here I might add that this lady was so well-endowed that she couldn’t see her toes even if her feet were extra-large or even jumbo-sized!
I’ll never forget “Brother Roach.” Yes, that was the name mentioned in the BOE letter sent to the Manchester, Tennessee, congregation in 1981 about the arrival of the new circuit overseer who would soon spend a week visiting with us. (I think we were the first congregation in the first circuit he visited after his appointment.)
The elder who read the letter to the congregation pronounced the name “Roach,” but not like the name of the bug. Instead, he put a bit of a “French twist” on it, making it sound somewhat exotic. He and the rest of the elders thought that was the way it had to be pronounced – certainly not pronounced like the name of a nasty bug.