How Did Watchtower Get Its First Churches?

There is a book entitled I Was a Watchtower Slave written by an ex-WT zone overseer back in the 40s or 50s. The guy that wrote it said he was working at Bethel in Germany when he was just 19 or 20 years old. He claims in Germany, while he was at Bethel, WT started taking over churches. If I remember correctly he said they did this around 1920 in Germany. He believed they tried it in Germany before the USA to see if it would be successful. This is how he claims they took control of churches:

According to this man’s claim they sent German Bethel members out to German churches subscribing to Watchtower publications. These Bethel reps then reported what was going on inside congregations using Watchtower publications. If those German congregations using the WT literature were not in step with WT teachings, then those Bethel members sent into those congregations would count them as apostate, and attempt to lead members out of those churches to follow them. He wrote when he was about 20 years old he went into a German congregation, told everyone there that he was from Watchtower, and that everyone with Watchtower must stand up and leave that church right then with him. He led a bunch out and declared those left as apostates, terminating that church’s relationship with the Watchtower organization.

Later this fellow came to the USA as a pioneer, zone overseer, and eventual Bethel worker. He said WT in the USA essentially did the same thing it did in Germany but used more kid gloves. What WT did in the USA is send its appointed company servants from Bethel into congregations, gave them authority over elders, and then removed elders from any assignments they had if they didn’t agree fully with WT policy . Things like turning in field service reports to WT headquarters. The author compared Americans then who were in churches using Watchtower publications to cowboys, meaning they were more independent in their thinking than compliant Germans associated with WT back then. So he said in America the men sent in to churches were older than those in Germany, and their tactics were not as harsh. He believed WT didn’t think the strong tactics used in Germany would have worked here in the USA. But he also said the tactics WT used in the USA were very effective, claiming all the elders that were stripped of their work assignments eventually left the org WT was building. Thereby leaving Watchtower with complete control in churches using its literature.

That’s how this author claimed WT took control of churches, in Germany and the USA…back in the 1920s and early 1930s. Prior to Watchtower taking over these churches they were independent organizations merely affiliated with the magazine company. Another interesting point this guy brought out was the spying done inside Bethel in Germany, and in the USA. He was invited to Bethel USA by Rutherford. But he said he didn’t want to work there. When he was there he said people working close to him were the type to turn you in for any supposed infraction or contrary belief. He said it was the same when he worked Bethel Germany.

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