The Demon Possessed Editor of
by Ken Raines
directly under the influence of evil spirits, so much so
that for three days I was as completely under demonical
control as was Mrs. Eddy when she wrote "Science and
C. J. Woodworth was a major individual during the Rutherford
period of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. He wrote the
commentary on Revelation in the 1917 book The Finished
Mystery. Rutherford made him editor of The Golden Age
magazine (later called Consolation) from its inaugural edition
in 1919 to 1946.
In The Finished Mystery Woodworth wrote the following
Have you enjoyed this work so far? Are you
convinced it is of the Lord-- prepared under His guidance? Have you
carefully and prayerfully read the comments on Rev. 7:1? Then brace
yourself for the truth that it is evidently God's purpose soon to
allow the minds of many of His little ones to become an open battle
ground, upon which the fallen angels shall be judged, and the manner
in which we meet the tests will prove our worthiness of crowns at the
same time that it proves these disobedient spirits unworthy of life
on any plane. This is something with which some but not many are yet
familiar.... without actual experience it is quite impossible to
conceive of the intensity of such struggles.... The base of the brain
is seized as in a vise. Interpretations of Scripture, ingenious, but
misleading beyond description, are projected into the mind as water
might be projected through a hose. Visions may be tried, wonderful
illuminations of the mind as by a soft but glorious greenish or
yellowish haze. Seductive suggestions may be made, based on
circumstances of the environment. Offers of inspiration may be made.
The privilege of sleep may be taken away for days at a stretch. All
this with the object of forcing the unfortunate into at least a
temporary insanity.... the mind may be flooded with thoughts that are
vile beyond description. THEN REMEMBER THE VOW. 
The comments on Rev. 7:1 he refers to contain quotations of
Russell from 1911 and 1914 Watch Towers. In them Russell said
the fallen angels that have been chained or restrained in darkness
since the flood will be let loose soon and be judged by the church
and by their actions. Russell said they will first attack his
followers who he regarded as the "anointed" little flock. This would
be part of the Time of Trouble culminating with Armageddon in 1914.
One of these quotes from 1911 says:
There is only one way, so far as we can see, in
which these fallen angels can have a trial, their trial consisting in
having a fuller opportunity to sin, if they so desire, or an
opportunity to show, if they wish, that they are sick of sin and
desire to return to harmony with God.... we reach the conclusion that
the trial of these fallen angels is in the near future&endash;perhaps
to some already begun. 
C. J. Woodworth fulfilled this "prophecy" by Russell. In his
comments quoted above from The Finished Mystery he appears to
be speaking of personal experience. His description of demon
possession is vivid: "The base of the brain is seized as in a vise.
Interpretations of Scripture,... are projected into the mind as water
might be projected through a hose. Visions may be tried,... as by a
soft greenish or yellowish haze..." How did he know these things
unless he is speaking from personal experience? He did say without
personal experience it is impossible to grasp the intensity of the
struggle one could have against demon possession.
That he personally had such battles with demons is documented by
his own testimony of it at the 1913 Convention of the Bible Students
in Asheville, North Carolina. A record of his statements is recorded
in the 1913 convention report put out by the Society. His confession
came during his talk on the Vow. He began by saying:
I WISH to speak to you of something that I
certainly never intended mentioning at this convention. I presume you
have all taken the vow, but perhaps some of you have not.
He said he didn't accept the Vow at first and thought it was
something Russell "brought up himself" and that he wouldn't accept it
unless he found it in Scripture. He then says:
Then began my troubles. I began to pray and to
fight it in my own way with the Scriptures. After a few months the
Scriptures apparently began to open up... demonstrating its
unscripturalness. I thought that... Brother Russell was wrong...
After corresponding with Russell on the issue he said his
nonacceptance of the vow led him to eventual demon possession and
even automatic writing:
There was a time for five consecutive nights when I
never slept a wink; then came a time when the strain was too much; my
mind became unbalanced, and I came directly under the influence of
evil spirits, so much so that for three days I was as completely
under demonical control as was Mrs. Eddy when she wrote "Science and
Previous to this time I had prepared a 36-page book against the
Vow, printed in double column, in which all scriptures which seemed
to be directly or indirectly against the Vow were arranged. I know
now that all these Scriptures were suggested to my mind by the evil
spirits. One of the suggestions was... (and this I believe was a
truth, for these "lying spirits" do sometimes tell the truth) that in
the fifteenth chapter of Numbers where it mentions the "Ribband of
blue," it had reference, anti-typacally, to the Vow. But then these
lying spirits turned the truth into a lie by claiming that the Vow
had been suggested to Brother Russell by the evil spirits. See how
clever they were! 
He goes on to say that after Russell pointed out a "mistake" in
his book he took all his copies and burned them. He then said:
Until this time I had never settled in my own mind
that Brother Russell was "That Servant.".... I never settled the
matter until I yielded and took the Vow which he advised all the
Lord's saints to take.... I firmly believe that this "ribband in
blue" is the Vow and inspired of God...[ 5]
Goodrich's Recollection and Comments
In 1969 Roy Goodrich commented on Woodworth's "confession" of
demon possession in his booklet Demonism and the Watchtower.
Goodrich was a respected JW during the Rutherford period who got into
trouble and was finally disfellowshipped over continually complaining
to Rutherford and others such as Woodworth that the ERA machine (the
Oscilloclast) that JW's were using was nothing more than a Ouija
board. He used Woodworth's confession (and the ERA machines) as
evidence of "demonism" in the Watchtower Society.
Goodrich claimed to have been at the convention and heard him say
these things which surprised him to say the least. He does not quote
from the report of the convention in his Demonism booklet, but
appears to write from his memory of it. In the booklet he wrote:
FURTHER SIDELIGHTS ON SOCIETY DEMONISM C. J.
Woodworth's Confession and Bold Prophecy
It was our privilege to attend our second Truth convention in
the summer of 1913, at Asheville, N. C..... It was at that
convention, when Brother C. J. Woodworth, the man who was the
continuous Editor of THE GOLDEN AGE from its first issue in 1919 to
the last issue of CONSOLATION in July, 1946 made a remarkable,
never-to-be- forgotten speech. We vividly recall it. It was
confession publicly, by Brother Woodworth, to the effect that he had
been very seriously under the control of demons for some time; that
under their influence he had written a book contrary to the teachings
of Pastor Russell; that his battle with these intelligences had been
terrific; and that only by the greatest personal struggle, had he by
the grace of God been able to throw off their influence sufficiently
to burn the manuscript which he had written... 
He later added:
Four and one-half short years later, the winter of
1916 and 1917, found this brother so recently and confessedly under
demon control, feverishly and secretly writing the Revelation portion
of "The Seventh Volume," "THE FINISHED MYSTERY", which was completed
and released for circulation in jig time the following July. 
But our point here is this: On pages 126 and 127 of that
volume... Brother Woodworth sets down the following, evidently from
his own personal experience he had so graphically described in
Asheville, four and one-half years previously:... 
He then quotes excerpts from these pages. It seems that Goodrich
here is implying that since The Finished Mystery was
completed "in jig time" and was written only a couple years after
Woodworth publicly confessed to being demon possessed and that the
book itself seems to promote the idea that his type of struggles are
to be expected almost as a test from God (both of the fallen angels
and the Church), that Woodworth was probably still under their
One assumes that Woodworth believed his battles were over (he
doesn't state in his "confession" that they were), but perhaps what
he wrote in 1917 indicates a rationalization to justify struggles
that continued. Being demon possessed was now, apparently, a mark of
being a ture consecrated child of God, one trusted to "try" the
spirits and to judge the spirits by being possessed by them! What
Woodworth wrote and published in the Golden Age doesn't
indicate to me any end to demonic influences in his life. Perhaps my
evangelical bias is showing through here, but they are filled with
occult and demonic material.
The Golden Age
This spiritual or mental condition of Woodworth, if continued,
could explain not only the contents of The Finished Mystery,
but the occultism and "demonism" in The Golden Age magazine he
edited. The previous journal documented one such occultic and
demonically inspired item he endorsed &endash; the automatic writing
book Angels and Women. He believed the book was "dictated" to
the author by a fallen angel who was "tired of sin" and wanted to
repent. This fallen angel was "judged" by this high ranking, demomon
pssessed member of God's organization as being honest and repentant
(as opposed to the ones that communicated with him earlier that he
judged as being wicked). The fallen angel shed some light on
pre-flood conditions in the book he said. He thus promoted "new
light" or Biblical interpretation and history from demons&endash; as
long as they were repentant and honest, not simply "lying spirits."
As he said in his "confession": "these lying spirits do sometimes
tell the truth" and when they did, he believed and promoted their
A good sized book or three could document and discuss many other
examples of his publishing and endorsing material in the Golden
Age that was of an occultic nature. A major area that had
occultic or "demonic" associations are the numerous food, health, and
medical items printed in The Golden Age. One of these, the
"ERA" theory and devices of Dr. Albert Abrams is being documented in
this journal as I believe it shows how these endorsements involved
many in the JW movement, including prominent ones, in the occult
(part one is in this issue).
I may decide to document others at some point. The point of the
current series though is to document Rutherford's occultic and
demonic involvement and why I believe he was a spirit medium.
Rutherford himself claimed spirits projected Biblical interpretations
into his mind and thus seems to have had similar channeling
experiences to Woodworth. The difference being Rutherford firmly
believed these spirits were not wicked but holy.
Rutherford's leadership involved others in the Bible Student/JW
movement in the occult as well. I believe some of this should be
documented to show the effects his leadership and example had on
others. The placing of Woodworth as editor of the Golden Age
did much to involve many in the Watchtower Society in the occult and
thus demonic influence.
References and Footnotes:
1. Thirteenth Souvenir
Convention Report, p. 274.
2. The Finished
Mystery, 1917 pp. 126, 127.
3. Ibid., p. 124.
4. Thirteenth Souvenir
Convention Report, p. 274.
5. Ibid., pp. 274, 275.
6. Roy D. Goodrich, Demonism and the Watchtower (Ft.
Lauderdale, FL: The Bible Way Publications) 1969, p. 11.
7. Ibid., pp. 11, 12.
8. Ibid., p. 12.