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Eight questions about Nathan Knorr

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    M Skimmer posted Wed, 30 May 2001 04:03:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    I have some questions about Nathan Knorr, the third president (1942-1977) of the WTBTS. Accurate answers are welcome.

    1) How did it come about that Knorr was made president of the WTBTS in 1942 after the death of Joseph Rutherford? Rutherford as we know was an usurper inheritor of Russell's WTBTS in late 1916 after Russell went to his reward. Since Rutherford knew he was dying in 1942, did he try to extend his influence beyond the grave and so hand pick Knorr in a hope to retain the policies at the time?

    2) Is it accurate to say that Knorr was nearly single handedly responsible for the prohibition on blood transfusions?

    3) Is it accurate to say that Knorr was nearly single handedly responsible for the establishment of the modern shunning doctrine?

    4) There was a report that Brooklyn Bethel residency was off limits to married people -- until the day that Knorr got married. Is this true?

    5) There was also a report that Knorr was a closeted homosexual, and that his marriage was a sham and a cover-up. Is this accurate?

    6) Where is Knorr buried? I doubt if he has a pyramid grave site marker like Russell, but it still might be interesting to get a photo on the web. For that matter, where are Rutherford and Fred Franz planted?

    7) If Knorr was responsible for most of the post 1942 quack medicine and disfellowshipping teachings, do you think he has more blame for total human suffering than all the other WTBTS leaders put together?

    8) Why do you think that Knorr established the general policy on anonymity for WTBTS writings?

    Farkel posted Wed, 30 May 2001 04:14:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    I'll shoot from the hip:

    : 1) How did it come about that Knorr was made president of the WTBTS in 1942 after the death of Joseph Rutherford? Rutherford as we know was an usurper inheritor of Russell's WTBTS in late 1916 after Russell went to his reward. Since Rutherford knew he was dying in 1942, did he try to extend his influence beyond the grave and so hand pick Knorr in a hope to retain the policies at the time?

    Rutherford hand-picked Knorr to be his successor. He wouldn't hand-pick anyone who he didn't trust.

    : 2) Is it accurate to say that Knorr was nearly single handedly responsible for the prohibition on blood transfusions?

    I would guess that it was Fred Franz who was the one more responsible. Knorr wasn't a doctrine guy. He was an organizer.

    : 3) Is it accurate to say that Knorr was nearly single handedly responsible for the establishment of the modern shunning doctrine?

    Once again, I would guess that mantle went to Franz.

    : 4) There was a report that Brooklyn Bethel residency was off limits to married people -- until the day that Knorr got married. Is this true?

    Yes. Absolutely. Soon after he married Audrey, the rules were relaxed.

    : 5) There was also a report that Knorr was a closeted homosexual, and that his marriage was a sham and a cover-up. Is this accurate?

    I've heard that Audrey complained they never consummated their marriage, or at the very least she was sexually frustrated. Knorr was obsessed with sex, though. There were rumors about he being a homosexual but there is no evidence for it.

    : 6) Where is Knorr buried? I doubt if he has a pyramid grave site marker like Russell, but it still might be interesting to get a photo on the web. For that matter, where are Rutherford and Fred Franz planted?

    Knorr and Franz are buried on the WT "Launching Pad." I think that is at one of the society's farms. From what I know, Fred Franz has told several people that Rutherford was secretely buried late at night at Beth Sarim. I believe even Randy Watters heard that story while he was at Bethel.

    : 7) If Knorr was responsible for most of the post 1942 quack medicine and disfellowshipping teachings, do you think he has more blame for total human suffering than all the other WTBTS leaders put together?

    He wasn't responsible for that stuff. Fred Franz made almost all of the JW doctrinal decisions and Knorr rarely overruled him. Ray Franz has stated this. The evils that Franz did and the evils that Rutherford did are like comparing apples to oranges. I believe that overall Rutherford caused the most damage, because the iron-grip the society has on the lives of its followers still exists today, whereas most of Franz's wacky teaching has been quietly discarded. There's a lot more I could elaborate about on this, but I don't have much time for this response.

    : 8) Why do you think that Knorr established the general policy on anonymity for WTBTS writings?

    Probably because JFR has his name attached to EVERYTHiNG he wrote, and Knorr had to distance the society from him just like Rutherford tried to distance the society from Russell. Corporate politics and good business.

    Farkel

    M Stephanus posted Wed, 30 May 2001 04:29:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    Some very good questions, Skimmer. I'd like to no 6 and ask further, Where, for that matter, are all the Bethelites buried, particularly the GB?

    M Skimmer posted Wed, 30 May 2001 05:41:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    Joined 3/18/2001

    Personally, I think that Knorr takes the number one spot on the WTBTS Evil Chart because it was during his tenure that the most damaging doctrines originated or the worst in the existing doctrines were made more prominent. In all but the last year of his three and a half decades running the show in Brooklyn, he had just about complete control over the output of the printing presses. In was under his administration the Fred Franz was able to propagate his screwy type/anti-type baloney and his chronological speculations. It was under his administration that the unfortunate JWs in Malawi were persecuted while the JWs in Mexico enjoyed their organizationally approved "non-religious cultural association" and their party/military membership cards. It was under his administration that the modern judicial/shunning policies came about. It was his administration that prohibited blood transfusions (since modified) and organ transplants (later overturned). It was his administration that continued the goofy policy of no vaccinations started under Rutherford (later overturned). All of this happened on Knorr's watch, and that makes him responsible.

    I think the anonymity policy was done for only one reason. Since Knorr was not prolific as a writer, he didn't want anyone else to gain prominence and possibly control.

    Fred Franz gets the number two spot on the Evil Chart with Rutherford close behind. I can see why some might switch these two positions. Freddie wins because of his long years of influence. Rutherford gets points by being the most vile, backstabbing, and hypocritical WTBTS president.

    I place Russell as a distant fourth. Other may disagree, and in doing so present the valid claim that he was the WTBTS founder and so can be held in part for all subsequent actions of the WTBTS. Yet I'm sure that if Russell could have foreseen how Rutherford perverted Russell's ideas, then Russell would never have allowed Rutherford a chance of a takeover.

    AlanF posted Wed, 30 May 2001 06:35:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    Joined 3/7/2001

    In general I agree with Farkel's answers, but I'll add some corrections and expansions.

    : 1) How did it come about that Knorr was made president of the WTBTS in 1942 after the death of Joseph Rutherford? Rutherford as we know was an usurper inheritor of Russell's WTBTS in late 1916 after Russell went to his reward. Since Rutherford knew he was dying in 1942, did he try to extend his influence beyond the grave and so hand pick Knorr in a hope to retain the policies at the time?

    Actually Rutherford, shortly before his death, called Nathan Knorr, Fred Franz and Hayden Covington to Beth Sarim in San Diego to issue his dying wishes. He instructed them to carry on the work he had begun, thus passing the mantle of power, as it were, to them. Covington became the Society's president, but very shortly thereafter Knorr convinced him that, because he was not "anointed" and Knorr and Franz were, Covington should resign and let Knorr become president. Thus it appears that Rutherford appointed Covington to be the president, despite the latter's "earthly hope". If that were not the case, Knorr would have immediately assumed the presidency. In the late 1950s Knorr and Covington had a major falling out and the latter was basically booted out of Bethel.

    : 2) Is it accurate to say that Knorr was nearly single handedly responsible for the prohibition on blood transfusions?

    No. Fred Franz loaded the gun and Knorr shot it off. Knorr basically didn't give a rat's ass about doctrine, unless doctrine had something to do with managing his printing plant. The blood doctrine appears to have been Freddie's baby from the beginning, as is apparent from the writing style of the seminal WTS articles on the blood transfusion ban.

    : 3) Is it accurate to say that Knorr was nearly single handedly responsible for the establishment of the modern shunning doctrine?

    Again, no. Both Knorr and Franz played big parts in it.

    : 4) There was a report that Brooklyn Bethel residency was off limits to married people -- until the day that Knorr got married. Is this true?

    Yes. It appears that Knorr, for reasons that many have speculated on, decided to get married. Until then it was a very basic Bethel rule that if you wanted to get married, you had to leave. As soon as he married Audrey Mock, he had to allow others to get married, but the restrictions were heavily biased so that only long-time Bethel staffers could make it.

    : 5) There was also a report that Knorr was a closeted homosexual, and that his marriage was a sham and a cover-up. Is this accurate?

    Many have felt that Knorr displayed rather effeminate qualities, and it is certainly true that some of his closest Bethel associates -- but not all -- were quite effeminate. Whether that indicates latent homosexuality is anyone's guess. Knorr was definitely obsessed with sex, which is likely what drove the Society today to be obsessed with sex. They have more rules on how to deal with fornication and adultery than on any other subject. Knorr's obsession came out in the many WTS articles dealing with masturbation. He was famous for delivering a lecture from time to time to new Bethel boys about how to avoid touching "it" when they "went to the bathroom". I've been told by Bethel insiders that Knorr never consummated his marriage, considering sex to be beneath his station. Supposedly it took Audrey a long time to get used to the idea of a celibate marriage, but apparently she did and became one of Knorr's fiercest defenders.

    : 6) Where is Knorr buried? I doubt if he has a pyramid grave site marker like Russell, but it still might be interesting to get a photo on the web. For that matter, where are Rutherford and Fred Franz planted?

    I think Farkel is right on Knorr and Franz. According to one source, the man who bought Beth Sarim from the Watchtower Society in the late 1940s told him that Watchtower officials told him when he bought the place that Rutherford is buried underneath the relatively new garage floor. When someone inquired of the owner if he knew where Rutherford was buried (there had been a rancorous fight between WTS officials and San Diego officials about burying Rutherford on the property), he said, "You're standing on him." He was standing on the concrete garage floor at the time. This wouldn't surprise me at all, given the Society's penchant for ignoring "Caesar" whenever they think they can get away with it.

    : 7) If Knorr was responsible for most of the post 1942 quack medicine and disfellowshipping teachings, do you think he has more blame for total human suffering than all the other WTBTS leaders put together?

    That depends on what you mean by "responsible" and "blame". As the despotic leader of the WTS, Knorr was ultimately responsible for whatever it did. However, he deferred to Fred Franz in doctrinal areas. And of course, plenty of toady underlings went along with anything and everything those two idiots did, so in a real sense, all WTS officials are responsible for those odious teachings.

    : 8) Why do you think that Knorr established the general policy on anonymity for WTBTS writings?

    Probably several reasons. Farkel touched on a good one. Another is that Knorr was a rather poor writer, and he knew it. He couldn't hope to live up to Rutherford's standards, and so instead of having various staff writers get the glory, he may well have figured that no one would. This is particularly reasonable since it's virtually certain that Fred Franz largely ghost-wrote Rutherford's books from the 1920s onward. It would hardly do for Franz to get a lot of credit by having his name on various Knorr-era books, and then for people to compare the quality of writing of the two men. Knorr was jealous of his power and his prestige -- he had a giant ego. Franz naturally gave in to this since Rutherford had not appointed him, but Covington to lead the pack, which leadership then went to Knorr. If anything, Freddie was a stickler for "the theocracy".

    AlanF

    larc posted Wed, 30 May 2001 06:42:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    Regarding Rutherford's burial: like Farkel, I have heard that he was secretly buried at Beth Sarim after a refusal of the city of San Diego, when they requested a special burial cite on the property. I have also read in Harrison's book "Trumpets of Glory", that he was buried in the Woodrow Cemetary on Statan Island, New York. This cemetary is near WBBR, the radio station the Witnesses used to own, and a house and farm where Rutherford spent three day weekends to write his imfamous books. I did a search and found the Woodrow United Methodist Church that owns the cemetary and found an e mail address which I used to ask if they had any records on this famous false prophet. I will let you know their reply.

    M ozziepost posted Wed, 30 May 2001 10:12:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    Joined 2/5/2001

    G'day all,

    Re this report from AlanF

    I've been told by Bethel insiders that Knorr never consummated his marriage, considering sex to be beneath his station. Supposedly it took Audrey a long time to get used to the idea of a celibate marriage
    This apparently is hearsay, but if it were true, do you realise that not one of the Watchtower presidents has had a normal sex life (or any sex life!)

    Now where was that 'Family Life' book again?

    Cheers,
    Ozzie

    Freedom is not having to wear a tie.

    M joelbear posted Wed, 30 May 2001 11:33:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    Joined 2/21/2001

    Knorr and Franz are buried somewhere near Watchtower Farms. I remember someone pointing it out to me while I was a bethelite there.

    Audrey Knorr worked with me in the subscription department at the Farm. She was a very humble and nice person. I do know she remarried not long after Knorr died and the guy she married was a real handsome older guy.

    I heard so many horror stories of the way Bethel life was under Knorr. I got there a year after he died. It was surreal listening to the litany of rules he had.

    yhugs

    Joel

    F blondie posted Wed, 30 May 2001 12:37:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    Joined 5/28/2001

    Interesting quote if the comment about NH Knorr is correct:

    10/1/56 Watchtower p. 586 Marriage Obligations and Divorce
    This is not saying that married couples should not give each other the sexual due. This is not saying that, before getting married, they should make an agreement and enter a common vow before God to live a celibate life even after marriage, having no sexual relations but merely enjoying each other’s companionship. No one should think that this is raising marriage to a spiritual level and keeping it on an exalted, unfleshly plane, and so belittling the marriage of others who have sexual relations. If a married couple does not want to pay marriage dues, then the man and woman should not marry at all and not subject the mate to deprivation of what is natural and craved naturally. By celibacy they are not putting their marriage on a level higher and holier than that of others. They cannot change God’s honorable sexual arrangement. Celibate marriages have therefore never fared well.

    The others are not degrading their married life by intercourse, but are following an honorable, rightful course. There is no proper marriage for so-called “Platonic friendship” just because the end of the world is so near. If an engaged couple think natural connections are carnal, then why wed at all? Why have one of the opposite sex so close to one all the time, in the most intimate privacy? If it is not good or spiritually upbuilding to touch a woman, why live so intimate with her even in celibate marriage? Be natural, be normal, do not be falsely idealistic. Do not be like some Irish Catholic girls who are in the news, who get married but refuse to give their husband his due because they want to imitate Jesus’ mother Mary and remain “ever virgin.”

    slipnslidemaster posted Wed, 30 May 2001 17:24:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    Once again, thank you AlanF and Farkel!!!

    Plenty of material out there on Rutherford and Russell but I've hardly heard anything about Knorr and Franz. I would love to know what has transpired during the last 20+ years since the committee arrangement. AlanF has commented on Ted Jarez in another thread and I'm dying to know anyother information he knows!! Post away!!

    Joelbear, post some of the hearsay and stories. I'm dying here!!

    Slipnslidemaster: Doin' the humpty hump...just doin' the humpty hump...

    nojw86 posted Wed, 30 May 2001 19:38:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    I met Knorr at a KH dedecation, found him strange and removed when I was introduced, sat next to him for the talk etc, when he said the prayer and we bowed our heads, I saw his shoes were not shined by really dirty, of course my daughter would say mister clean your shoes. LOL. nojw

    M Francois posted Wed, 30 May 2001 21:59:00 GMT(5/30/2001)

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    I heard a story somewhere, maybe it was here, that Knorr had secret meetings with each new group of Bethelites in which he supposedly taught them how to take a leak without touching their, um, wee-wees. Nice trick. Seems he thought it was best not to even touch the damned thing.

    M Skimmer posted Thu, 31 May 2001 01:50:00 GMT(5/31/2001)

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    The story about Rutherford being secretly buried in the middle of the night is almost too strange to be credible. Yet somehow I can almost picture Knorr and a few other of Rutherford's bodyguards shoveling away at the Beth Sarim site. Maybe Knorr as the new WTBTS president acted as the police look-out while the other cane-wielders dug away. Has the city of San Diego ever been notified of this? Positive results of an exhumation would be most embarrassing for the WTBTS, even if the statute of limitations for illegal internment has long expired. If there was enough evidence of a secret burial, perhaps the San Diego coroner staff just be interested given that the city had earlier denied a permit for a private burial at the site.

    What would the WTBTS do if someone wrote them and told them that there was an effort to get the San Diego authorities involved to resolve the question. Would the WTBTS go into denial mode? If they know that there is a secret grave, would they admit it, or would they just stay silent and hope that no one would investigate?

    If I had Rutherford buried under my garage, I'd dig him up and auction off the remains.

    The alternative of Rutherford being planted in a Staton Island Methodist cemetery is easier to believe. But if there is a tombstone there with Rutherford's name on it, perhaps there's just an empty coffin underneath.

    ----------------

    In Dante's _Divine Comedy_, there is a special place reserved in Hell for heretics with special treatment for those who converted many away from the real faith. It is located on the outskirts of the Infernal City of Dis, and it is a cemetery of sorts with all the coffins above ground. Each coffin has the name of its unfortunately conscious occupant marked on the outside. Each is made of metal and is sealed for all eternity. The temperature of a coffin is proportionate to the damage done by the occupant. Some glow a dull orange while others are bright red. A few are white hot.

    M COMF posted Thu, 31 May 2001 02:09:00 GMT(5/31/2001)

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    Some glow a dull orange while others are bright red. A few are white hot.


    Ah, the beauty and majesty of the Lord's works!

    COMF

    Farkel posted Thu, 31 May 2001 03:03:00 GMT(5/31/2001)

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    Joined 3/14/2001

    Skimmer,

    : The story about Rutherford being secretly buried in the middle of the night is almost too strange to be credible.

    You might change your opinion if you can get a hold of several of the 1942 Consolation magazines (around May of that year) and read how the society vilified the City of San Diego for their refusal to allow Da Drunk's body to be buried at first: Beth Sarim and second, Beth Shan. I used to have those issues and remember how much hatred the society hurled against the City of San Diego. Of course, maybe it wasn't as bad I as remember, because I haven't read the full articles in over thirty years. But the society was definitely trying to stir up a publicity campaign to get San Deigo Officials to change their minds. Knowing how vindictive WTS officials can be, it wouldn't surprise me in the least that they interred old Joe's body in secret and at night on that property.

    Keep in mind that Beth Shan (which is just accros a canyon from Beth Sarim) which is every bit as big (5,100 approx. square feet of home) was built in total secrecy: it had a locked fence guarded by WT goons to the road which led up the property and no one who wasn't part of its construction was allowed through those gates.

    Rutherford had not one, but TWO bomb shelters built for his protection on that property, which was completed in 1939, just as WWII was starting. Rutherford fully expected WWII the bring on Armageddon, and instead of "trusting in Jehovah" to protect him (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) he trusted in his two bomb shelters, one of which had a ceiling of cement three feet thick!

    AlanF: if you have the time, perhaps you could post some excepts from those 1942 Consolation magazines to let the folks know just how pissed off the Society was when old Joe couldn't be buried in his mansion(s) built and paid for by the sweat and lives of his dumb-dub followers.

    Farkel

    d posted Mon, 10 Oct 2011 21:12:00 GMT(10/10/2011)

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    Where can I get more infor about Nathan Knorr?

    Ding posted Mon, 10 Oct 2011 21:49:00 GMT(10/10/2011)

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    Interesting quote, Blondie.

    Of course, I can't imagine WT presidents worrying about following rules that apply to the rank and file.

    Quendi posted Tue, 11 Oct 2011 16:22:00 GMT(10/11/2011)

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    This has been an absolutely fascinating reading experience. I no longer have any of my WTS Yearbooks, but I recall how the 1975 edition all but canonized both Russell and Rutherford, never hinting at their abnormal behaviors and lifestyles. As for Nathan Knorr, much depends on whom you consult. I knew a Witness who attended the same congregation meetings as Knorr did and she thought he was warm, open, and very friendly. On the other hand, I have read reports from Bethelites who served under his watch in Brooklyn who had very little to say about him that was positive. I have definitely appreciated what others have shared on this thread and hope that others read it as well, especially in view of what direction the WTS is taking now.

    Quendi

    Quendi posted Tue, 11 Oct 2011 16:25:00 GMT(10/11/2011)

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    I'd like to add that even though this thread was started ten years ago, it is still relevant. The history recounted here calls to mind Solomon's statement at Ecclesiastes 1:15, "That which is made crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot possibly be counted." It is no wonder the WTS is so fouled up!

    Quendi

    M james_woods posted Tue, 11 Oct 2011 17:14:00 GMT(10/11/2011)

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    Joined 10/26/2005

    Wasn't there a bethel rumor back in the 1960s that air-conditioning was extremely rare in the Brooklyn buildings - but that Knorr had his apartment airconditioned with window units supposedly on "health reasons"?

    I can still remember prominent elders of those days saying unanimously that Knorr was a hyper control freak, and a very cold fish not to be messed with. The saying that he could care less about doctrine, but was a businessman only interested in literature production was also commonplace.

    As far as the "latent homosexuality" rumors, I actually heard this more often applied to Freddy Franz (and his little hot-tub club for certain bethel boys) than about Knorr. The celibate marriage rumor was repeated fairly openly during his lifetime, though.

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