Introduction by Donna Morley Beth-Sarim is a very interesting
topic to discuss with your J.W.
visitors. If they know anything
about it, they will tell you that
it was a house that second
President, Joseph Rutherford,
lived in. Some Witnesses may even
elaborate and say that
Rutherford lived in that home,
purchased by the Watchtower
organization, because his health was declining. He needed to live by the ocean air
(San Diego, California). The Witness will share this with you, wanting to show you how compassionate the organization is. Yet, some Witnesses
will be clueless about this mansion. It's located at Lot 110, and Lot 111 of
Kensington Heights, Unit No. 2, San Diego, California. This puts the house at 4440
Braeburn Road (now privately owned). This mansion is 5,156 square feet.
Many Witnesses, when they find out about Beth-Sarim are told by the Jehovah's Witness "experts" the following:
Beth Sarim was not built at the expense of the WTBTS.”
(Taken from http://en.allexperts.com/q/Jehovah-s-Witness-1617/2008/3/Beth-Sarim.htm).
The above statement, mildly put, is inaccurate. Not only does the deed reveal the
Watch Tower’s involvement in buying the mansion, but it was purchased for the
most unusual reason. It was bought for the “princes” spoken of in Hebrews 11
(we’ll talk more about this in a moment.) An admission of the WTBS being involved
comes directly from Rutherford’s own pen:
The title to Beth-Sarim is vested in the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society in
trust, to be used by the president of the Society and his assistants for the
present, and thereafter to be for ever at the disposal of the aforementioned
princes on earth (Salvation, p. 311).
Let’s help the Jehovah’s Witnesses, by clearing things up for them. It all started
when Rutherford encouraged the followers to sell their home and businesses and
take to the road to sell his books. They were to live in their cars while they went
door to door being “faithful.” Their reward? Not only would they one day be in the
blessed earthly kingdom (if they weren’t part of the 1914 generation), but they
would get Rutherford’s material at a discount. All proceeds, from Rutherford’s
books, were sent to the Watchtower.
While the followers believed the money went to spread their beliefs, quite a bit of
the proceeds went to help several of Rutherford's schemes. One of those schemes
was the mansion, called "Beth-Sarim." In Hebrew it means "House of the Princes."
Why name it, “House of the Princes?” Because Rutherford told the Witnesses that
the “princes” of Hebrews 11 (Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph,
Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthae, David and Samuel) needed a
place to live when they came back to earth.
If you are confused about the “princes,” here’s what Rutherford says about them,
from his book, Millions Now Living Will Never Die (you can find this book on our
website, in the JW section):
As we have heretofore stated, the great jubilee cycle is due to begin in 1925.
Since all those listed in Hebrews chapter 11 cannot become part of the
heavenly class, they are to be resurrected as perfect men and constitute the
princes of the earth. Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will
mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the faithful prophets of old,
particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews chapter eleven, in the
condition of human perfection (italics, mine p. 89-90).
Although the princes didn’t come back to earth, in 1925 (another false prophecy),
Rutherford convinced the Watch Tower Society that the organization needed to
build for them a house for the time when they do come back. The organization
agreed and paid to have a mansion built on a piece of property in San Diego,
California for 25,000.00. That was an enormous sum of money, during the days of
the depression (deed was signed December 24, 1929). As we know, a very nice
home, during the depression, could be purchased between three to five thousand
As a side note, Rutherford also had another home built (that the Witnesses would
have to pay for). Rutherford named it Beth-Shan. You can read about it, and find
the deed to that home in Ed Gruss’ book, Jehovah's Witness: The Monuments to
In regards to Beth-Sarim, you will notice that the home’s deed (which you can print
out), is the most bizarre deed there ever was. Some of the highlights are:
...the Kingdom of God will have visible representatives on the earth
who will have charge of the affairs of the nation under the supervision
of the invisible ruler Christ; that among those who will thus be the
faithful representatives and visible governors of the world will be
David, who was once King over Israel; and Gideon, and Barak, and
Samson, and Jepthae, and Joseph, formerly the ruler of Egypt, and
Samuel the prophet and other faithful men who were named with
approval in the Bible at Hebrews the eleventh chapter.
...the property shall be forever used for the purpose subject to any
encumbrances that may have been placed thereupon (italics, mine)
...said Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society shall hold said title
perpetually in trust for the use of any or all of the men above named
as representatives of God’s Kingdom on earth and that such men shall
have possession and use of said property herein above described as
they may deem for the best interest for the work in which they are
Any person appearing to take possession of said premise, shall first
prove and identify themselves to the proper offices of said Society as
the person or persons described in Hebrews Chapter eleven and in this
Below is the Deed to Beth-Sarim, as well as
Rutherford’s comments (Salvation, p. 311)
Click here to view Beth Sarim - Deed
You can ask your J.W. visitor the following questions:
1) What have you been told about Beth-Sarim? Do you believe it was built for
the “princes” spoken about in Hebrews 11?
2) Show the deed to your Witness visitors. Show them, the names of the
princes; show them the Watch Tower’s name on the deed.
3) Show Rutherford’s statement from his book, Salvation, 1939. At the
time he made that statement, he had been living in the mansion for 10 years.
3) Show the Witness the wording in the deed: “...the property shall be
forever used for the purpose subject to any encumbrances that may have been
4) Ask: Who is wrong here? Rutherford and the WT leaders for having made "forever" a condition in the deed, or third President Nathan H. Knorr who sold the Beth-Sarim mansion? If even one of these men are wrong, then is the Watch Tower
Society truly being guided by Jesus?
© Donna Morley, 2008
Faith and Reason Forum