My dear Brethren:
Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
Inasmuch as quite a number of requests have come to hand for more information about the malicious slanders that have been circulated about the writer, it is deemed expedient to send you some more of the correspondence. My prayer for you is that you may read it slowly, carefully and thoughtfully, with that “wisdom from above, which is without partiality”.
In due course, Dv., I shall prepare some elucidation on the items listed on Page 5, beginning with Item 1 – The Faithful and The Measurably Faithful. Thus each may determine for himself who has the wisdom and mind of the Lord in the matter.
May our Good Shepherd grant you the wisdom and strength to possess and retain your blessed inheritance in goodly Canaan Land, which is, for Gospel Age purposes, the Truth and the spirit of the Truth.
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
Philadelphia 48, Pa.
August 20, 1955
Mr. John J. Hoefle
2020 Witherell Avenue
Detroit 26, Michigan
Dear Brother Hoefle:
Your registered letters of August 8 and 13 received. From the last sentence of the latter, in which you tell me to consider myself free to expose your errors and your oppositional course, I see that apparently you do not understand my position. I have no desire to expose you before the brethren, and will not do so, unless you make it necessary. My desire is not to bring any reflection against you. I therefore expect to make an announcement like the following, either in the Nov. PT, or in our annual report:
“We have recently appointed Bro. Roy Ekroth as an Auxiliary Pilgrim, and Bro. Gerald Herzig as an Evangelist for the L.H.M.M.; and by mutual agreement Bro. John J. Hoefle is no longer available for Pilgrim service for the L.H.M.M.”
I still long for you, and look forward to the time, D.v., when our misunderstandings may be cleared away and our former sweet fellowship in the Spirit of the Lord be restored. Let us both pray the Lord to help us toward this end. Faithfully yours by His grace,
(Signed) R. G. Jolly
Philadelphia 48, Pa.
June 25, 1955
Dear Brother Hoefle: Christian greetings!
Your letter of May 20 arrived May 24, as I was in the midst of last-minute preparations to leave on my pilgrim trip to the West coast. I have now returned and, having attended to a few matters demanding immediate care, I am able to give your letter my attention.
You start by saying: “Your letter of May 17 makes no mention that you are sending a copy to the Winter Park Ecclesia, so I shall send them one from here”. You are correct in thinking that I did not mail them a copy of my May 17 letter to you. The only copy I mailed them was that of my letter of March 24, for only it directly concerned them, since certain charges had been made before them, in which Brother Gavin, Brother Eschrich, you and I were each involved. Since I was in the presence of the Winter Park Ecclesia (and visitors) charged by Sister Hoefle with circulating certain reports about you, which I did not do, I was glad to deny said false accusations and to exonerate your name to the extent of my knowledge in the matter, and that to the Ecclesia before whom the charges were made. To my knowledge my letter of March 24 is correct in every detail. It was not my intention to send the Winter Park Class carbon copies of any further correspondence between us, unless it became necessary. Because you have taken it upon yourself to send them a copy of my letter of May 17, because you have written Brother and Sister Stanford a later letter containing many false and misleading statements and because I feel I have a responsibility before the Lord to protect them, as well as to clarify for them some points which are not clear, I am sending them a copy of this letter.
It was not I who invited the Winter Park Ecclesia into the matter. They apparently had been informed about the matter before my arrival there on March 15, and the reception I received by some was not as cordial as usual, though I am glad to say this was not so on the part of all. The charges made by Sister Hoefle in a disorderly way against Brother Gavin and against me in the presence of the class and visitors came as a shock to me, as I then heard of them for the first time. It was not clear to me as to just what the charges against Brother Gavin were, nor what all was involved, though obviously it centered about a conversation between him and Bro. Eschrich, concerning which he was accused of having said that Brother Eschrich had told him that I was the source of the slander in question (see my letter of March 24). Brother Gavin denied this charge against him repeatedly, saying that, so far as he was able to recall, my name had not been mentioned in said conversation. In spite of this, strenuous efforts were made by Sister Hoefle to involve me in the matter, though I denied the charge. Also, Brother Eschrich denies that I was the source of the slander that he heard about you, or that he told Brother Gavin that I was the source of it.
You say: “Your attempts of March 24 to plead Matthew 18 is simply so much nonsense”. I do not think that the holding up of the Lord’s standards and the obeying of His commandments should be called nonsense. Instead, you should realize that you are sinning against the Lord if you are upholding your wife’s disobedience to the Lord’s commands, as manifested at that Winter Park meeting.
As to “a public defense of my character and my ministry” I realize that you and Sister Hoefle have collectively made a public attack on both my character and my ministry and have written and circulated letters containing false charges against me. I trust you will not make it necessary for me to handle this matter before the brethren at large. I made no “refusal” to answer your questions, as you falsely state, nor did I refrain from answering them because of any fear to do so, nor did I self-evidently show contempt of Matthew 18, as you charge, for I had already in my letter of March 24 assured you that I had not spread any such reports as I was (in violation of Matt. 18:15) publicly accused of doing, by Sister Hoefle in Winter Park, and concerning which you had not previously approached me. I even went beyond the requirements of justice to seek to remove the slander from your name. I take it that you are in harmony with the presentation on the proper application of Matt. 18 given in the May 1955 PT, P. 44, though it is possible you have not seen it, for I notice that, according to our records, your subscription lapsed last January.
You claim that my May 17 letter to you is a “flimsy evasion” and “untenable” and can mean only one of two things: that either I am “disgustingly guilty and fear the truth” or am “tragically shallow and weak” in my handling of this situation. I reply that you are wrong in both of these conclusions. In my letter of March 24 I assured you that I was not guilty of spreading the reports in question and that I had denied doing so before the Winter Park Ecclesia, in whose presence the charges were made, apparently without the class having arranged for such a hearing. If you disbelieve me – you say that thus the guilt would be shifted to you. Be that as it may, I have given you full assurance that I have not circulated the slander against you as charged.
Nor was there anything shallow or weak (let alone “tragically”) in my writing you on May 17 that in view of paragraph 2, sentence 2, of your letter of May 22, 1954 (in which you said: “You never hesitate to tell a lie when it suits your convenience”), and in view of other considerations, I could see nothing of benefit to you or others that would be accomplished by my writing to you further at that time. Your attitude seemed clearly to manifest a determined attempt to disparage and to undermine the influence of Brother Gavin and Brother Eschrich, as well as myself, despite assurances given you from all three against your accusations; and in view of this and “other considerations”, I could not see that anything of benefit to you or to others would be gained by my writing to you further at that time. You apparently ignored the “other considerations”. spoken of in my letter of MAY 17, for you do not refer to them; but these (as well as your accusing me of never hesitating to tell a lie whenever it suits my convenience and then inconsistently asking for my answers to your questions – as though they would have any weight with you) forced me to the conclusion that nothing of benefit to you or to others would be accomplished by my writing to you further at that time and under such conditions. Some of the “other considerations” (which manifest your antagonism in general) are as follows:
(1) Your persistent opposition to some of the teachings of both the Parousia and Epiphany Messengers on baptism, despite the many Scriptures and Scriptural reasons they gave for these teachings, E.g.:
(a) You have persistently opposed Brother Russell’s and Brother Johnson’s teaching (E 178-180; F 284; P 142, p. 52, col. 2, par. 1, lines 14,15) that all in the early Church had the gifts of the Spirit. You make the following unretracted statement against their viewpoint: “We know, too, that they did not all receive the gifts of the Spirit,” despite the fact that they gave Scriptures to support their Truth presentations on this subject, such as Acts 8:17; 1 Cor. 12:7, 11; 14:26, etc.
(b) You have persistently opposed their teaching that John’s baptism was still of avail for the Jews after John the Baptist’s death, which teaching you counter with such questions as “Do I understand you to insist that after John’s death, and after the inauguration of Christian baptism, that John’s baptism was still of avail for the Jews? If so, who would take John’s place in performing it?” – as though only John the Baptist could administer John’s baptism, which was for the washing away of sins against the Law and therefore of avail for Jews only, who were under the Law, hence was administered, not only by John the Baptist, but also by others, e.g., by Ananias to Paul (Acts 22:l6) long after John’s death and the inauguration of Christian baptism (Tower Reprints 2825, column 2; P ‘21, pp. 131-133).
(c) You have persistently opposed the Truth teaching of Brother Russell (e.g., in F 428; Z 3152, par. 7; Z4420, pars. 4,5) and Brother Johnson (e.g., in E Vol. 7, P. 467, bottom; P ‘42, pp. 51 - 53) that John’s baptism was not valid for the twelve Ephesians (Acts 19:1-7) because of their being Gentiles. Brother Russell and Brother Johnson reasoned most clearly and convincingly from the Scriptures on this subject (F 428; P ‘42, P. 51, etc.), and yet you ask for “just one verse of Bible” to prove their position correct. You have persisted in fighting against the Truth as they gave it on the above and other items connected with the doctrine of baptism, despite my laboring hard and long in brotherly love to help you get back into harmony with the teachings of the two Messengers.
(2) Your overbearing, officious attitude in general, your name-calling and abusive language and your many false and unfounded accusations relative to my direction of the work, etc. E.g.:
(a) You question my authority to appoint pilgrims, etc., and you claim that my article, “Promotions in Service,” in the Sept. 1953 PT, smacks strongly of That Evil Servant’s course of ‘making merchandise’ of the brethren by his book-selling drives, etc..” whereas my exhortations to faithful services are not similar to his, wherein he engaged in great drives, reaped personal profit, etc. Furthermore, my exhortations are meager indeed compared with those of Brothers Russell and Johnson. Nor did I advocate “sell books to get a promotion” as you falsely charge. You repeatedly asked of me: “Revise your Promotions In Service or publish my letters in the Present Truth.” Your oppositional letters were very false and misleading in many of their statements, and to revise the PT article to suit your ideas would have been to violate a true and helpful presentation that was of assistance to many; therefore I could not comply with your request (E Vol. 4, P. 108, lines 12-16), even as I could not revise Bro. Russell’s and Brother Johnson’s Scriptural teachings on baptism and publish your contrary views instead.
(b) You accuse me of not being “motivated by a proper humility.” How can you judge the motives of my heart and what motivates my actions? From the very beginning of my course as a manifested Levite I have endeavored to humble myself before the Lord in harmony with my lowered position in the Court as instead of in the Holy. E.g., I at once resigned as an elder in the Philadelphia Church. When Brother Johnson said I might serve in meetings where Priests were present, but that I should not offer the closing prayer, I did not tell him that I would deliver discourses only where I could offer the closing prayer and insist on his respecting my wishes in the matter, but I complied humbly and willingly, even refusing to lead in prayer when called on at the next Philadelphia Convention and thereafter. You also have plenty of evidence in THE PRESENT TRUTH of my further humbling myself before the brethren. I can truly say before the Lord that I feel no pride in my heart, that I realize my fallen and undone condition, the sin which doth so easily beset me, and my insufficiency for the service the Lord had placed upon my shoulders, and that I look only to Him for strength to render that service and for my eternal salvation. I feel, therefore, that your accusation is false.
(c) You make many false accusations against me as the executive trustee of the L.H.M.M., accusing me of squandering the Lord’s money, “namely, the many thousands of dollars you have squandered in preparing the Tabernacle for a mark which, up to now, cannot register one single success in any department... Even in the original purchase of the Tabernacle you threw away at least a thousand dollars.” Surely you must know that it was Brother Johnson, not I, who purchased the Tabernacle. I know of no thousand dollars that was thrown away in its purchase. And how do you know that there is not one single success in any department? How are you going to measure the success of a spiritual work? If you think outward results are needed in order to be successful, I have but to remind you that man looks on the outward appearance, but not so with God. If we consider outward success as the important thing, then Judge Rutherford was quite a success, for he won quite a following.
(d) You accuse me of immediately (in 1950) plunging into the Basileia work six years ahead of time, whereas I have merely continued the general work as directed by Brother Johnson, e.g., in P ‘50, pp. 7, col. 2, top 192, 193. I have given in P ‘51, P. 74, last question, and P. 75, and elsewhere the reasons why this work was not to be delayed until 1954 or 1956. Certain features of this work were to begin with Bro. Johnson’s demise, as he instructed, and the initial Basileia work was to start in October 1954, as he indicated (see P ‘54, pp. 54-59, especially page 57), and not in 1956 as you have set forth. The period for the cleansing of the antitypical mother of a daughter was 80 years, ending in 1954. Therefore the attestatorial service had to begin at that time. I do not see how it could allow for any extension until 1956 or thereafter for its beginning. Your faultfinding in this connection is really against Brother Johnson.
(e) You say that the work I am doing is “abortive” in large part, and is sure to result in failure.” Those who opposed the Lord, Brother Russell and Brother Johnson predicted similarly of their work, and, indeed, to outward appearances it looked as though their work was a failure. it is easy for some, instead of zealously cooperating in and furthering the Lord’s work in their times, to condemn it and predict its failure. I am seeking faithfully to do my part in pursuing the work as indicated in the Scriptures and, as directed by the Epiphany Messenger, and I contentedly leave the results, which are really the Lord’s business, in His hands (1 Cor. 3:6,7).
(f) You say: “I am still able to find very little that you have done right.” You predict failure for practically everything I do or encourage others to do, even saying that “the same will prove true of your movie campaign, too.” I leave the results in God’s hand. So far it is doing a good work, both in America and in Britain, despite the negative influence of a few faultfinders.
(g) You impugn motives and indulge in abusive language and name-calling, using such terms as “profuse folderol,” “imbecilic,” “liar,” “hypocrite,” “colossal gall,” and speaking of me as “whimpering,” “whining”. and a “crackpot.” You seem intent on raking up everything you can find on unfaithful leaders and trying to apply it to me. I realize my imperfections and have freely admitted them to you and others, though I fail to find a single instance in our entire correspondence where you have acknowledged making any mistakes, despite my calling your attention to many of them.
(3) The disturbance and the discord (Prov. 6:14,19) you and Sister Hoefle have caused among the brethren.
(a) This was especially apparent at the Jacksonville Convention when instead of speaking to Brother Eschrich, the chairman, privately, you accosted him in an excited and disorderly conversation at the back of the convention room, with brethren passing in and out of the Convention room and of necessity having to pass near you, and thus naturally wondering why there should be a commotion and dissension between you and Brother Eschrich and Brother Gavin, whom you say you called into the discussion. Your letter of April 1 indicates that you held Brother Eschrich in this disorderly discussion until ten minutes past time for him to open the meeting. Brother Eschrich did not inform me what the conversation was all about, though he did tell me that the spirit shown there was so bad (and this was manifest to other brethren also) that he thought best to open the meeting (which you indicate was already ten minutes late) and put an end to it. My statement to this effect is in no sense of the word or to any degree a “direct contradiction” to my letter of March 26, Wherein I stated: “the charges made against Brother Gavin and against me before the Winter Park Ecclesia and visitors (Sister Gavin and Sister Wilson, of Lakeland, Fla.), were news to me, as I then heard them for the first time.” Both statements are true.
(b) It is manifest in the letters that you and Sister Hoefle have been sending out among the brethren, including some carbon copies of your own letters to me, together with slighting and slurring remarks against me, and many prying questions. This has caused a number of the brethren to be amazed at your conduct.
(c) Also, it was manifest in the nature of the antagonistic questions put in at the question meetings at Winter Park and elsewhere, apparently intended to discredit me and put me into as bad a light as possible before the brethren. This has caused considerable comment not at all favorable to those asking such questions, for some remember the course of those who similarly asked Brother Johnson oppositional questions.
(4) Your and Sister Hoefle’s neglect of, disobedience to, misapplication of and misuse of Matt. 18:15-17. I mentioned her course briefly in paragraph 3 of this letter. When I wrote to you on March 24 about the Winter Park meeting, I stated in connection with Sister Hoefle’s coarse there that “apparently the principle laid down in Matt. 18:15 had not been followed.” You now write that “Your attempt of March 24 to plead Matt. 18:15 is simply so much nonsense.” I leave this in the Lord’s hands. It certainly was evident that in her disorderly course at Winter Park on March 15 Sister Hoefle was not following Matt. 18:15. You were admittedly not even present at the Winter Park meeting on March 15, and yet you are the one whose grievance was being aired there in the presence of the class, and that apparently without the class having arranged for such a hearing. I do not see where any Scriptural teaching or principle could give Sister Hoefle the right to seek to carry out Matt. 18:15 on your behalf. Your calling my reference to Matt. 18:15 in connection with Sister Hoefle’s course “simply so much nonsense” seems to show clearly that you are supporting her in her neglect of and disobedience to the Lord’s injunction in Matt. 18. Instead of manifesting the Lord’s spirit, Sister Hoefle in that Winter Park meeting allowed herself to become quite angry and lost her self-control to such an extent that one of the sisters told her to calm herself.
The premise on which the Lord gave His instruction in Matt. 18:15-17 was: “If thy brother trespass against thee.” This does not warrant one in sitting as a judge in a court of judgment and hailing different brethren before him against whom he nay have suspicions and demanding that they all answer whatever prying questions he may choose to ask, in order that he may find out, if possible, something against a brother or brethren. The Lord’s people have “strict instructions from their Lord and Head on this important subject. His spirit of love is to fill them as they go alone, privately, to the injuring person without previous conference or talking with anyone. They go not to make him ashamed of his conduct, nor to berate him or otherwise punish, but to secure a cessation of the wrong and, if possible, some recompense for injury already received” (F 291-292). Notice, our Lord does not say: “If you suspect that your brother trespass against you,” but “If thy brother trespass.” Furthermore, the purpose given is not to berate, slander or persecute one’s brother, but to secure a cessation of the wrong and to “gain thy brother.” If the injury has been stopped, we should stop pursuing the matter.
Furthermore, your expressed desire to summon Brother Eschrich before the General Church, supposedly in following Matt. 18:17, is in pursuit of another violation of the Lord’s arrangements, for (E Vol. 6, pp. 735, 736) it is “unscriptural” to advocate “General Conventions’ assuming the power to legislate for the General Church” and to advocate and practice “the use of Matt. 18:15-18 by Conventions. Matt. 18:15-18 applies to individuals within an Ecclesia and to individual ecclesias, but not to sins that affect the entire Church. The Old Catholic error that what applies to an individual applies to the General Church has crept in among Truth people”. You should surely know better than to advocate or pursue such an unscriptural course!
The above are some of the “other considerations” that prompted (not a “refusal” to answer, as you have falsely written to others, but) my refraining from answering your questions, as I recognized the impropriety in them, especially in view of your expressed purpose. I expected that you would make merchandise of my not answering your questions, but I did not think you would stoop to such unjust and untrue methods and statements, even calling my citing Sister Hoefle’s violation of Matt. 18 “simply so much nonsense.”
While I cannot agree that your conduct and course of action is in harmony with the spirit of Brother Russell’s teachings, including his article in Z Nov. 15, 1908 348-52, I see no harm in answering your two questions: (1) “Who gave the slander to you about Sister Barger and me?” The first I heard it was when Sister Hoefle made her charges against me publicly before the Winter Park Ecclesia and visitors there present, as stated in my March 24 letter to you, paragraph 2. This is the first I heard of such a scandal being circulated about you. I understood that a certain widow asked you to invest money for her, on my recommendation of you, but as to any rumor to the effect that you had defrauded a Truth sister,, a widow, in the handling of $1,000 for her, I knew of no such rumor prior to the time of Sister Hoefle’s accusations at Winter Park. (2) “Did you repeat it to Brother Eschrich, or any one else?” No. As just stated, I did not even know of it, hence I could not repeat it to others.
Another false accusation which you have made against me lately in a letter to Brother and Sister Stanford should have attention here. You claim that I have been “most unfaithful to the Lord’s people in willfully withholding from them the unpublished literature.” You will have to answer to the Lord for charging me with willfulness in this matter, thus trying to read my heart. You try to make it appear that the three books which Brother Johnson said he hoped to publish in 1950 (P 149, P. 175; P ‘50, pp. 10,11) were ready to be published at that time. There is quite a difference between what one hopes to do and what one is able to do, and our dear Bro. Johnson did not have sufficient strength and time left in 1950 to get those books ready. Anyone who has done any publishing of books knows that it takes considerable time and effort, and I feel sure that, apart from a few faultfinders like you, the brethren in general will be content to wait on the Lord in the matter. I wonder if you recall one year’s Motto Text of Brother Russell, showing the opening chestnut burr and underneath it the words IN DUE TIME? Two of the above-mentioned books have already been published, and the third is in the process. As to withholding the third book from the brethren, your charge can easily be shown to be false as to this volume also, for many of the articles which are to appear in this volume have been appearing in our magazines preparatory to their being made up into book form.
You try to make it appear that I am withholding Brother Johnson’s unpublished literature “because those writings undoubtedly (!) contain information which would put a direct contradiction on much Brother Jolly has been doing – as, for instance, Brother Johnson being in harmony with Brother Russell on Rev. 19:1-6 (See Berean Comments on this and Rev. 22:10). If you believe that you have such ability to tell “undoubtedly” what unpublished writings of Brother Johnson contain you should also know what his published writings contain on this subject. In his very first P.T., in the article, “The Last Related Acts of Elijah and Elisha (see P 118, P. 13; reprinted in E Vol. 3, p. 132), “Brother Johnson shows that Rev. 19:1, 2 does not apply to Babylon’s destruction, but to the Society section of the Great Company giving a message pertaining to Babylon’s future destruction. In E Vol. 10, P. 113, Brother Johnson says “Vs. 1, 2 symbolize the Society’s big drive in Jordan’s second smiting, in which they forecast (emphasis mine), as vs. 1, 2 show, Babylon’s destruction.” See also P ‘‘50 P. 192. Thus Brother Johnson showed that he did not agree with Bro. Russell’s view on these verses, because the fulfilled facts showed that Brother Russell’s view was untenable.
If, as stated above, you had been more concerned with Brother Johnson’s published writings, instead of trying to tell others what his unpublished writings “undoubtedly” contain, you would have noticed also how Brother Johnson makes it clear in P 131, P. 156, col. 2, that Rev. 19:1-9 does not refer to the Great Company in Babylon. You will note that Brother Johnson here was replying to the attacks of G. K. Bolger, an independent revolutionist who, Brother Johnson says (p. 159) “casts aspersions on our loyalty to our Pastor’s teachings and seeks to palm himself off as loyal to them.” Brother Johnson further characterizes him as “a symbolic wolf.” It seems you are definitely squinting in the direction of teaching the same as G. K. Bolger did on Rev. 19. Think it over, dear brother. Note carefully what Brother Johnson says on P. 156, col. 2, especially the following sentence, “as a matter of fact, then, we find that Rev. 19:1-9 does not refer to that section of the Great Company that remains in Babylon until it is destroyed and thereby gets its freedom, but to the Truth section of the Great Company (emphasis mine).”
Furthermore, another matter which requires attention in this letter is in connection with your seeking independently to serve the Muskegon Ecclesia on April 16 with discourses, etc. The Muskegon Ecclesia, after telling you they would be very happy to have you serve them in the gospel ministry, also expressed their desire to you to have the appointment confirmed by the Bible House, thus endeavoring to preserve the Epiphany arrangement to the effect that “If any of the classes or individuals desire Pilgrim or Evangelistic service, please tell them to clear the appointments with the Bible House or our representatives in other countries, if time permits. (See P ‘50, P. 30) This was nearly a month before the time of the service you were seeking independently to arrange for April 16, so you had plenty of time to grant the ecclesia’s reasonable request. Instead of granting their request, you wrote them as follows: “There is no occasion now to seek confirmation from the Bible House – and I shall not attempt to do so. I assume you must realize full well that I am completely free to go whithersoever I will, and to preach the Word as I have opportunity, without accounting to or securing permission from any one for it.” Your course in thus spurning the ecclesia’s reasonable request and refusing to have the appointment confirmed by the Bible House seems to show clearly that you have committed yourself to a course independent of, and antagonistic to, the Bible House. This is the very attitude taken by R. H. Hirsh, W. S. Stevens, and S. A. Cater, when they went astray.
The Muskegon Class then wrote you again, assuring you thatthey would like very much to have you serve them, but that it had always been their course to have confirmation by the Bible House for class talks, and that they would like to have it in this instance also, in the usual way. Surely this was not clericalistic, nor sectarian, but in your reply to them you read them quite a lecture, accusing them of clericalism and sectarianism, and, among other things, condemning their proper efforts to maintain the Lord’s Epiphany arrangements by saying: “When you insist that the Bible House pass approval before you accept service from a brother in our midst – or one from elsewhere, for that matter, you affirm your approval of the Pope in Large Babylon, who also insists that his ledlings receive only such to minister to them as have been ordained by the ‘laying on of hands,’ etc.” It is astonishing how closely you follow the course of R. H. Hirsh, W. S. Stevens, S. A. Cater, C. A. Zielinski, etc., who accused Brother Johnson of being a pope! Also, many similarly accused Brother Russell!
Your conduct for some time now has been very similar in many ways to that of R. H. Hirsh (P ‘20, pp. 142-148, 172-181, 192-194) in his working independently of the one whom the Lord had placed in charge, in opposition to the work then due to be done, in his opposition and secret propaganda by word of mouth and writing of letters in an effort to disparage the Lord’s Epiphany executive and leader while himself posing as a martyr much abused, in his accusing Brother Johnson of clericalism and sectarianism, and in his misrepresentation of the facts of the case. Your oppositional course has been very similar also to that of W. S. Stevens as described in P ‘35, pp. 97-100, 119, 120, 151-154, e.g., in his letters of misrepresentation and false accusation, his independent and oppositional attitude, his much faultfinding, his course regarding Pilgrim service, his characterizing of the Lord’s Epiphany executive as a sectarian and a clericalist, and his threat of court action against him. In your veiled threat of court action, your practice regarding Pilgrim service, etc., your course has been much along the same lines.
I have long-sufferingly endured your abuses and underhanded campaign of opposition and misrepresentation, and I have not exposed your wrong teachings and rebellions conduct before others, hoping that in time you might recover yourself, nor shall I expose you further, except as you make it necessary for me to protect the Lord’s sheep against your adverse influence. I now have something very unpleasant to do. In view of your continued oppositional course, I now find it necessary as the Lord’s appointed leader for the good Levites and the good Youthful Worthies, and as executive trustee of the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement, in faithfulness to the Lord and the brethren, to suspend you as a Pilgrim of and for the Laymen’s Home Missionary movement. I am not dismissing you finally, as I am still hoping and praying for you that you may recover yourself and come back into harmony with Brother Russell’s and Brother Johnson’s teachings and arrangements, but meanwhile kindly do not consider or represent yourself any further as a Pilgrim of or for the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement. However, as just explained, the door is still open for you to recover yourself from your oppositional course and to come back into harmony with the teachings and arrangements of the Parousia and Epiphany Messengers. It grieves me that I am forced to take this temporary action against you, for I still love you as a brother and I still earnestly pray for you and wish you well in the Lord. I remain as ever,
Faithfully your brother and servant in the Lord,
(Signed) R. G. Jolly
RGJ/ab P.S. Kindly excuse delay in this letter, due to intervening matters.
August 8, 1955
Dear Brother Jolly:
This is to inform you that I cannot longer accept supervision from you in my Pilgrim activities. This decision comes after much sober thought and struggle in prayer before the Lord; but your gross sins of teaching and practice leave me no other course. I ask that you please publish this letter in the Present Truth, and that you let me know within five days whether or not you intend to do so.
For many months now I have been “waiting upon the Lord” to be certain of His will before taking such a serious step; and I am now relieved that your own action provides me with the answer, which I accept as clearly indicative of our loving Father’s oversight and good pleasure toward me. I have been fully aware all along of Brother Johnson’s teachings of the course I should follow under the conditions; and I suppose I am rather open to criticism for my delay in making such a far-reaching decision. I pray, however, that I may not be subject to overmuch “chastening” for deferring so long such an unpleasant step, because
I have hesitated to touch
Things that involve so much.
Please understand this does not mean I am forsaking my brethren in the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement; it simply means I cannot longer be “faithful to the Lord, the Truth, and the brethren” if I appear to condone your Revolutionisms against Parousia and Epiphany teachings and arrangements – against which I have repeatedly protested to you over the past several years, but to no avail. Under the circumstances, your writing of June 25, in which you “suspend me as a Pilgrim”, is nothing more than a flimsy gesture from my viewpoint, as I had long since concluded – had you made request for my services – that my acceptance of any recognition by you would be conditional that no farcical “outward” approval of your evils should attach to me. Certainly, my letters to you over the past few years could have left no doubt in your mind about my opinions concerning you.
My heart bleeds for you, Brother, as you “sit in darkness and the shadow of death”, because I realize your precarious position from certain Biblical types and Brother Johnson’s statements; and I once more appeal to you to forsake your ruinous course and to faithfully and honorably administer the Trusteeship which has been committed to you. I pray for you that you may cleanse yourself while “it is yet today”, and that the “wisdom from above” may guide you into right paths, that thus you may “dwell in the House of the Lord forever”.
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle
August 13, 1955
Dear Brother Jolly:
Your letter of June 25, Postmarked July 7 at Philadelphia, arrived during my absence from Detroit. Your statement that you are sending the Winter Park Ecclesia a copy of your letter because you have a “responsibility before the Lord to protect them” meets with my full approval; and I have the same reason for sending them a copy of this letter. They are about to become much better acquainted with both of us. It seems you were not too impressed by your “responsibility”, though, if you could leave your letter lying about your office for a full twelve days before mailing it.
On Page 1, Par. 2 you say that “only your letter of March 24 directly concerned them” (the Winter Park Ecclesia). Don’t you agree, Brother Jolly, that your faithfulness, and mine, to “the Lord, the Truth, and the Brethren” is a direct concern of ALL the Lord’s people everywhere, and not only of those at Winter Park? And, having written them the sort of letter you did, certainly they had a right to expect – and did expect – a further statement from you and me to help them determine the truth in this matter. Again I say to you – These contentions are not prompted by any personal dislike of you; they have a direct concern for all God’s people. So I repeat once more – consider yourself free to publish anywhere and any time ALL I have ever written to you. It also concerns ALL God’s people when you suspend any of Brother Johnson’s appointments; they all have a right to be put on guard against self-seekers, schismatics, power-graspers, and the like.
Page 1. Par. 3, you say Brother Eschrich “denies that you were the source of the slander”. Since you have been in contact with him about it, did you ask him why he didn’t tell me that when I wrote him about it last October; and why he didn’t tell it to me at Jacksonville when Brother Gavin accused him of saying that you did do it? In your last sentence of this paragraph you state very clearly that Brother Eschrich admitted to you he had slandered me. Did you ask him if he had done anything about rectifying his wrong? Did you advise him – in accordance with Brother Russell’s article of Nov. 15, 1908, with which you are “in full harmony” – to come to me at once and give me the name of his informant? Did you? In Brother Russell’s words – “mark those persons who request you to keep secrets from those to whom they properly belong”. At the tine you received this confession from Brother Eschrich I was an official Pilgrim of the L.H.M.M.; yet you receive such a confession from him about me; then you have the unmitigated gall to scold me as the wrongdoer here! Note some more of Brother Russell’s words: “If evil speakings come to our knowledge without our being in any sense a party to them... we will always and promptly bring the matter to the attention of the brother whose name is traduced... tell him the name of our informant, etc., according to the instructions of Matt. 18:15-17”. Are you still “in full harmony” with Bro. Russell’s article? If so, did you instruct Brother Eschrich in accordance with it? Or are you in desperation trying to browbeat me into silently nursing the “wounds I have received in the house of my friends”? Once more I am forced to the painful conclusion that your avowal of “full harmony with Brother Russell” is just so much empty talk – effusion of words – “sounding brass”!!
Yes, I fully realize, according to Page 1, Par. 4, that I would be “sinning against the Lord in upholding my wife’s disobedience to the Lord’s commands”; but I want more than just your word for it that she has done so. Impartial brethren in attendance at that meeting of March 15 do not confirm your statement. You certainly know that Bro. and Sister Stanford upheld you against their own blood relatives in the 1951 sifting; and those relatives were very near to them in natural and Truth ties. Why don’t you ask them if they agree with you? Also, I have read Page 44 of the May Present Truth; and I concluded three months ago that your statement “You have no authority to punish him” is only a half truth and very misleading – because any honest repentance by the wrongdoer should include restitution or undoing of his wrong in addition to simply saying he is sorry. Do you agree with that? If you do, why didn’t you put that on Page 44, too?
Page 2, Par. 2 you say my statement of May 20 is wrong. I asked you seven questions in my letter of April 1, most of which were prompted by your Winter Park visit. Did you answer ALL those seven questions in your letter of June 25, or just two of them? And why haven’t you answered them in the seven pages you have taken to say so many other things now?
Page 2, Par. 3, you say “assurances were given by all three against your accusation”. This is just another falsehood by you. I told you in my letter of April 1 that Brother Eschrich admitted repeating the slander to his wife; that Brother Gavin accused him of telling it to him; and you now freely admit that he confessed it to you. Just what “assurances”, then, did he give me? Are you now contending that I am “determined to disparage” a confessed slanderer because I went to him in full accordance with Matt. 18, and he “refused to hear me”? Are you? Doesn’t it make any difference to you if your Pilgrims admit to heinous wrongs without repenting or offering restitution – so long as they remain “in harmony” with the “Lord’s Appointed”? It seems you accept Matt. 18 only as a convenient cover-up for you and your “yes-men” – to be quoted to others, but to have no force whatever upon you and your “house”. I am informed you yourself gossiped quite freely about me in derogatory fashion at Winter Park March 15-17 – when I was not present. Yes, “the principle laid down in Matt. 18:15 had not been followed” (your letter of March 24, Par. 1); it was shamelessly ignored there by YOU!
Now, you come again on Page 2, Item (b) with John’s Baptism! You say it was administered “long after John’s death and the inauguration of Christian Baptism”; but the Tower Reprint, Page 2825, does not confirm your statement, nor have you offered any Scripture to confirm it. Paul was baptized by Ananias before – not after – the inauguration of Christian Baptism, as it has applied all during the Gospel Age; and I wish you would cite me one instance where the Scriptures record one performance, accepted by the Lord, of John’s Baptism after the inauguration of Christian Baptism – that is, after the Baptism of Cornelius (Acts 10:48). I am interested only in the Truth on this subject; and I think it is high time for you to contribute something more than you have to it, or now forever hold your peace. The occurrence of Acts 19 was sometime between 50 and 60 AD, according to the best information we have; and Paul’s letter to that same Ecclesia at Ephesus was purportedly written around the year 60. In that letter Paul states there is “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5); so, if you are right in claiming two Baptisms at the time of Acts 19, Paul must have changed his mind in the few intervening years. Do you have any idea when and why he changed his mind?
And, if the foregoing is not enough, then I submit to you that St. Peter wrote his first epistle within a few years of the Acts 19 matter. That letter was written expressly to the Jews; and he tells those Jews that Baptism is not for the forgiveness of sins in 1 Pet. 3:21 (You yourself agreed with this interpretation). Therefore, if John’s Baptism was of avail for the Jews in Acts 19, as you claim, and Peter tells the Jews it was of no avail to them, you are self-evidently advocating the idea that the two leading Apostles of the Jewish Harvest were contradicting each other on the subject of Baptism. What is your answer to this?
And, if the foregoing is not enough, I have something concrete from Brother Johnson to prove beyond any doubt that the men of Acts 19 could not possibly have been Gentiles.
Please understand I have the highest respect for Brother Russell and Brother Johnson, but I realize they were not infallible. They both repeatedly told us to prove from the Scriptures everything they wrote; and here is one item with which I cannot do that. And, from everything you have said up to now, you can’t do it either – your only argument being – They said so, which makes it right. I consider your contention about this item to be quite childish, because it affects our present teaching on Baptism in not the slightest degree; it is more or less a technicality. It should make very little difference between you and me at the close of the Age; and your continued yelling “out of harmony with Brother Russell and Brother Johnson” would seem to be only an excuse to berate me in a “whispering campaign” as you have been doing for some time, and particularly since 1953. You assured them at Winter Park that this was only a technicality, although you there elaborated in your discourse on the brother who is “out of harmony with Brother Russell and Brother Johnson on Baptism”; then later “emphatically stated ‘It is not a fundamental doctrine’“. Just how do you rate their intelligence by again profusely making an issue of it and sending them a copy of your letter of June 25 “for their protection”? You pounced on this “not fundamental doctrine” in 1953 as an excuse to shout “out of harmony with Brother Russell and Brother Johnson”; and you continue to do so despite my repeated requests to you to confirm your position from the Scriptures, or at least to disprove my scriptural analysis of it, based upon Acts 18, – neither of which you have been able to do –, although at no time have you been man enough to say so. Again I say, my only interest in this matter is the Truth!
Page 3, 2 (a). Yes, I did – and do – question your authority to “appoint Pilgrims”. Only a General Teacher and Pastor could do this; and you have given no evidence whatever of having this appointment from the Lord, or the qualifications for it. You say you could not publish my contrary views in the Present Truth, but you well know that Brother Russell and Brother Johnson often published contrary views; then gave their own, to teach the Brethren the Truth. You have done this yourself with some of the writings of others, so why make an exception with me?
You offer quite a piece of self-praise for your humility back in 1937, “resigning at once as an elder in the Philadelphia Church” after your sins had found you out after you were trapped in your Revolutionism that had been designed in azazelian cunning behind Brother Johnson’s back and you were forbidden to appear as an elder before the Philadelphia Ecclesia. Did your great humility cause you to abnegate yourself before or after you were forbidden to appear there as elder? However, I approve of what you eventually did do; it was commendable and proper of you to resign – especially, since your physical forces were so depleted and the “spirit of a sound mind” had so forsaken you that you in desperation sought the services of a Psychiatrist. The Lord apparently was not enough to give you peace of heart and mind. “The Lord answered Saul not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets” – 1 Sam. 28:6. The Lord has always been – and is yet – my helper and Strong Tomer; for which I offer a prayer of thankfulness in real humility at least twice each day, and usually more than twice. The only thing that has overtaken me is the slimy ogre of slander; but I do not feel impelled to resign anything because of that, or to consult a Psychiatrist – any more than did Brother Russell or Brother Johnson in similar circumstances.
When you ask how I can “judge what motivates your actions”, I can only repeat the Lord’s words, “By their fruits ye shall know them”; and Paul’s words, “The Holy Spirit is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Perhaps I should say, too, that I am familiar with the rating various capable brethren gave your humility back in Brother Russell’s day. You state, “I did not tell him (Brother Johnson) that I would deliver discourses only where I could offer the closing prayer, and insist on his respecting my wishes in the matter, but I complied humbly and willingly, even refusing to lead in prayer”, etc. Is this another one of your sophistical insinuations, against which Brother Russell so bluntly warned all the Lord’s people in his saintly article of Nov. 15, 1908, with which you are “in full harmony”? If you had me in mind, why are you not man enough to say so? Your “sleight of hand” here is just too weak and clumsy to hoodwink the Winter Park Ecclesia, I am sure. I am informed that you made some such remark when you were there in March. Did you? Did you go behind my back, too, as you did with Brother Johnson in 1937 in your humility? The difference between you and me, Brother Jolly, (with all my “abusive language and name-calling”) is that I came to YOU FIRST OF ALL with my complaints; whereas, YOU have done just the reverse! Whatever I have had to say to or about Brother Johnson I said directly to him – as I also have been doing with you; and on no occasion did I ever try to enter into a conspiracy to usurp his authority – as you did in your great humility. That is one of the reasons why Brother Johnson and I always were the closest of friends; why he confided in me in a manner that he did with none other. Too, he fully agreed with my thoughts about the speaker of a discourse delivering the closing prayer; we were in complete harmony about it – so much so that he asked me in June, 1950, to deliver two discourses, with closing prayers for each, at the approaching Convention in Chicago in November. Aside from the Los Angeles Convention in 1942, where I delivered several discourses, his invitation to me for Chicago is the only instance in the United States where he knowingly arranged for a Youthful Worthy to deliver more than one discourse at a Convention. After you were trapped in your conspiracy to usurp his authority in 1937, did he offer you increased opportunities of service, and his full approval of your evil course, or did he announce you as an uncleansed revolutionistic Levite?
At the time of Brother Johnson’s funeral I gave you all the encouragement I knew how to do, telling you I realized what a trying position yours would be; offered you all the brotherly help I could at any time you might need it – and my subsequent acts proved the sincerity of those assurances. Can you offer any proof whatever, other than words, that you carried the same sentiments toward me?
Page 4 (d). You say my “faultfinding is really against Brother Johnson”. You would certainly like to give it that twist, wouldn’t you? Why don’t you quote some more here from Brother Johnson, as, for instance, that the Great Company developing truths would continue to be purified and enlarged until the 80 years were up? Were the 80 years up in October 1950? What purifying or enlarging have you produced in the five years since he died? A truth has become quite clear since then, namely, that Brother Johnson’s death delivered completely into Azazel’s hands ALL Great Company members – a truth you are now trying desperately to evade. So embattled are you by this clear Epiphany revealment, that you not only resort to open Revolutionism against it, but you indirectly encourage others of your Great Company brethren to do so by encouraging them in their evil ways, thus preventing them from proceeding to that cleansing which will enable them to “offer unto the Lord an offering in Righteousness”. Great is your guilt in this matter,, and your “foolishness will be very plain to all”.
Page 4 (e). You say “those who opposed the Lord, Brother Russell and Brother Johnson predicted failure for their work”. Do you know of any one instance where any one who had the Truth and its spirit did this to them? Or, wasn’t it just “dogs and the Sifters who made those accusations? Surely, if I belong to either of these two classes, you would have broadcast it in the Present Truth long ago, because, as you say, you “have an obligation to protect the Lord’s people” – and which indeed you do!! Can it be that your “Dear brother” salutations, and then again your harangue and subtle whispering “out of harmony” insinuations which have come to me from many sources, are simply the workings of your “double mind”? And, when people flocked by the thousands in every large city to view Brother Russell’s Photo Drama, how did his critics appear in comparison with the critic who is now writing you? Harking back to that Photo Drama, are you not again stating a rank falsehood when you say that “to outward appearances it looked..... a failure”?
Page 4 (g). You complain about my language having the savor of that applied to “unfaithful leaders”. What other language could I use? If one is a liar, the epithet would apply whether the name be Jolly, Rutherford, Cater, Zielinski or Smith; and many of the terms I have used are pretty much a take-off from what Brother Johnson said about unfaithful leaders. You say you have freely admitted your mistakes, so I am setting out some of those you have not admitted (How does it compare with those you have admitted?):
1. Your confusion on the “Faithful” and the “Measurably Faithful”.
2. Your confusion on Judas and the thirty pieces of silver in relation to John 12:6, as set forth in the November 1954 P.T., page 92, per my letter to you of Nov. 18, 1954, which you have never acknowledged.
3. Your confusion on the Star Members, as stated in the March 1954 P.T., page 25, per my letter to you of March 20, 1954, which you have never acknowledged.
4. Your confusion on John 21, repeatedly called to your attention by me. Your answer to my question at Jacksonville on Feb. 27 was so nebulous and incoherent that it is evident you do not yet understand this section of Scripture,.
5. Your misleading statements that Brother Johnson said he would not publish all his books until after Armageddon.
6. The complete failure of your $5 correspondence course (which reeked of commercialism – making merchandise of God’s word).
7. Failure to admit your falsehoods told to the Winter Park Ecclesia the night of March 15.
8. Failure to admit many other falsehoods called to your attention.
9. The selecting of “appropriate” texts other than the Daily Manna Texts, for “Service Testimonies” at Conventions.
10. Starting a 90-minute “special business” session at the Chicago Convention October 31, 1953 without a prayer or opening hymn.
11. Prating about your fraternizing with antitypical sons of Eli (preachers of Babylon) – strongly smacking of Combinationism.
12. Cutting the Present Truth down to Six (6) copies annually instead of Twelve (12) formerly issued by Brother Johnson (Revolutionism against the Epiphany Arrangements).
13. Taking time to publish your Flying Saucer tract, your DYK, High Calling Closed, Israel’s Return, a letter to the brethren regarding a worthless (Italian) coin, and attending numerous “Chop Suey” Conventions; also your visit to Rome and Switzerland – all of which you were able to do in lieu of the first obligation placed upon your Trusteeship to feed the flock by publishing the manuscripts of Brother Johnson – claiming you “do not have time” to do the latter.
14. Your statement at the Chicago Convention in October 1953 that the solid truths as given in Brother Johnson’s tracts (also used by Brother Russell) were “time-worn and threadbare” (an expression similarly used by JFR; and to this day the J.W.’s claim Brother Russell’s books were all right for HIS DAY), while claiming “up-to-the minute” praise for those printed by R. G. Jolly.
15. Your refusal and failure to account for the $20,000 which disappeared from the Book Fund ... which was committed to your trust when you became Trustee.
16. Your refusal to give an analysis of your Sinking Fund in your Annual Report. You have both a legal and moral obligation to give us this report. An Executive Trustee is not an owner in this instance; neither are you the Founder of this Movement.
17. Using the appellation Good Levites and Cleansed Levites in your publications interchangeably, as though they were one and the same – despite your knowledge that Brother Johnson said the “cleansing of these Good Levites” was a thing devoutly to be hoped for (in the future).
I am pleased to note you did correct some of the above after they were called to your attention by me – (e.g., Nos. 9, 11, 14); although you have never so much as mentioned them to me.
Page 4, 3 (a). You say I “accosted Brother Eschrich in an excited and disorderly conversation”. This is just another one of your falsehoods. I did not accost him, he approached me. I told you that in my letter of April 1, so yon have no excuse for making this false statement. Even granted that Brother Eschrich gave it the twist you now state, it is still his word against mine, so your proper Scriptural course should be one of neutrality. And when you say that “Brother Eschrich thought the spirit shown was so very bad”, didn’t it occur to you to ask him what was back of it? You knew you were coming to Winter Park yourself within a few weeks. Didn’t you have enough “brotherly love” to give you any urge at all to try to “provoke to love and good works” on March 15-17? I asked you in my letter of April 1 what conversation you had and what conclusions you reached. Why have you sidestepped that question? And when you say the “bad spirit was manifest to other brethren”, are you by any chance referring to your wife or other “yes-men” that you brought with you to Jacksonville?
Page 4, 3 (b). You say “a number of the brethren are amazed at my conduct”. From this statement, it would seem our differences must have had a pretty wide discussion already – behind my back – which hardly fits in with your continued determination to keep it quiet. The brethren who thus expressed themselves to you must have received their information from you when I was not present to offer explanation or defense – just one more evidence of your “whispering” campaign against me. At every opportunity you demonstrate striking similarity of character to King Saul – of whose antitype you are a part. Behind Brother Johnson’s back; behind my back; behind Sister Hoefle’s back! Such sneaking underhand tactics are the unmistakable technique of a moral bankrupt. It was such methods against David, coupled with rebellion (Revolutionism), that eventually drove Saul to the Witch of Endor and – to DESTRUCTION!
Page 5 - 4. You speak about the “disorderly course” of Sister Hoefle at Winter Park on March 15. You Yourself had complete charge of that meeting. Why didn’t you keep order? Didn’t you think it was certainly your obligation in that position? And, if she showed a “bad spirit”, did you reprove her for it, in harmony with Paul’s counsel, “He that sinneth before all,, rebuke before all, that others may fear”? Or did you wait until the erring (?) one had left before you began to berate her behind her back? When I came to you about a similar failing on your part – “in the spirit of meekness” –, after the 1952 Philadelphia Convention, and pointed out your Scriptural obligation in the matter, you disagreed with my conclusions, and I did not press the point; although I am informed that you gave the erring one such a verbal beating the following week-end in the Tabernacle that he had tears in his eyes. So, it would seem that by now you should know your Scriptural obligation in such matters. If you do not know what to do to keep order with eleven people in a meeting – where you are in complete charge –, it is little wonder you show such incapacity for handling the general work. Did you ever hear Brother Johnson cry about being abused by “disorderly” people when he had complete charge? And so far as I can learn, you are the only one who complains of an accusation being made there anyway; you were simply asked a direct question which you could easily have answered Yes or No. Perhaps it is in order here to quote an old axiom – A guilty conscience needs no accuser! According to your own admissions, you were the most disorderly person at that meeting, because you were in position to keep order, and should know how to keep order, yet you did not do so. But, since you are trying to make wives the cause of much of this trouble, why do you completely overlook the one whose husband admits she made trouble? I refer to Sister Eschrich. Bro. Eschrich admits she circulated the slander; so, according to his own admission, he is not even qualified to be a Deacon in the Church if we accept St. Paul’s standards in 1 Tim. 3:11. Yet you are upholding him as an “abused” man – after he has confessed to repeating the slander, and has confessed that his wife is a slanderer also. Thus, when you say I “manifest a determined attempt to disparage and undermine the influence of Brother Eschrich despite assurances given me against my accusations” – even after he confessed guilt to my accusations, and after Brother Gavin himself before you and the Winter Park Ecclesia on March 15, stated that Brother Eschrich should correct his wrong – you give just another evidence of your woeful incompetence, of your flagrant lack of veracity, and of your uncleansed condition.
Brother Johnson was often accused of having a “bad spirit” – as you well know. And, when Peter accused Ananias of “lying to the Holy Spirit”, he must have shown considerable emotion. St. Paul showed great indignation and emotion in Acts 13:10: “O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness”.... Jesus, too, in Matt. 23, labeling the Scribes and the Pharisees “hypocrites, blind guides, children of Hell, serpents and vipers”, probably showed considerable indignation and emotion; as He also did in Matt. 21:12 where He “overthrew the tables”. According to your interpretations, He must have been “out of order”, too! Your standards of righteousness and order are indeed grotesque. Why do I seek to “destroy the influence of Brothers Eschrich, Gavin and Jolly”? Because our Lord Jesus, St. Paul, Martin Luther, Brother Russell, Brother Johnson and other faithful servants of the Truth hesitated not to denounce evildoers in the Lord’s House – in positive, direct language that brought “howls” and cries of “bad spirit” from the traducers. And I am not at all moved to apologize to you for my course in faithfully following the examples set before me.
Page 5 - 3. This whole paragraph is a depraved piece of jugglery. You say, “We should stop pursuing the matter”. This is in direct contradiction with Brother Russell’s article of Nov. 15, 1908, with which you are “in full harmony”. As pointed out before, I did go to Brother Eschrich alone, privately, as evidenced by my letter of October 30, 1954. That letter is clear enough, isn’t it? Can you offer any criticism whatever of it? When Brother Gavin came to me with what Brother Eschrich had told him, it became more than just a matter of my personal well-being; it placed an obligation upon me to “pursue the matter”, as Brother Russell so clearly stated.
Are you trying to say now that that is not sufficient for me to come to you, in accordance with Matt. 18, to learn whether you are guilty? Are you contending I would have to wait until you yourself say to me “I am slandering you”, before I could follow Matt. 18? Also, your last sentence in that paragraph – “If the injury has been stopped, we should stop pursuing the matter”, is a Jesuitical twist again closely allied to the perversions of That Evil Servant. Does the article in the Present Truth give me any “assurance” that the “injury has been stopped”? Does your letter give me any “assurance” in your protection of the wrongdoers that the “injury has been stopped”? When you soothe the wounded feelings of the wrongdoer and berate the one wronged, do you think that method will correct the evil? If a brother should steal money from you (instead of your good name, as the slanderers have done to me) and should admit his guilt – say he is sorry and promise never to steal from you again – but would make no effort at all at restitution – would you consider yourself “stopped from pursuing the matter”? Would you? You seem obsessed with the delusion that volume of words will impress some, regardless of the nonsense those words may express; and this is just another evidence of your desperation in this vicious and sordid crime against one of the Lord’s House! In 1950 you were very pronounced in defending the truth, “Without repentance, there is no forgiveness by the Lord; and there is no obligation on us to forgive a brother who does not repent”. Are you now revolutionizing against that Parousia and Epiphany Truth?
So Brother Eschrich complains that some one shook a finger in his face at Jacksonville! A self-admitted slanderer (to you and to me) who wants to brush off his leprous Levitical crime with a “let’s just drop it” complains that the one he has wronged shook a finger in his face! Poor Fellow; he was truly abused there!! Do you think Brother Russell or Brother Johnson would stand complacently by – as you are doing – if they heard of a case of ONE PILGRIM slandering another Pilgrim? Do you? Do you think either of them would “suspend” the slandered one, while ardently upholding the evildoer – as you are now doing in the case of Brother Eschrich? You yourself announce the fact in the PT that this slander was done against me; thus you automatically obligate yourself – if you are honestly “in full harmony” with Brother Russell’s article of Nov. 15, 1908 – to do all in your power to identify the Real Source of this “leprosy” in our midst, as an object lesson for ALL toward proper application of the Golden Rule.
Page 5, Par. 4. You say such things are for “individual Ecclesias”. Will you tell me in which Ecclesia I should carry out this matter with Brother Eschrich? As you well know, this leprous Levitical crime has become widespread in the General Church; they have heard the liars’ side of it – but you now tell me I “should know better” than to want them to hear the truth about it. Nice reasoning; very nice, indeed! The only conclusion one could draw from such “reasoning” is that the one presenting it has truly “lost the oil from his lamp”.
Page 5, Par. 5. The “other considerations” mentioned here were all present when you called upon me publicly to support you in prayer at Jacksonville on Feb. 26; they were present when you wrote your letter of March 24, wherein you “wished I could have been present” at Winter Park on March 16, in which letter you greeted me with “Christian love” and sent your “continued best wishes”; they were present on May 28 at Muskegon(even after you had my letter of May 20), when you came across the dining hall to greet me as I sat at the table with four others. Indeed, your double-minded conduct here once more painfully reminds me of That Evil Servant, who hypocritically shed crocodile tears before Society brethren in his great “grief” over that “evil” Brother Johnson and others, who had “shaken off the dust of their feet” against him. And, when I described your “citing Sister Hoefle’s violation of Matt. 18 as simply so much nonsense”, I repeat that again with double emphasis; your confusion here – as in so many other instances – is certainly most lamentable. How could she possibly be involved with Matt. 18, when you yourself admit she did not come to you regarding herself, but simply asked you a question about me? Will you make clear just how Matt. 18 would be binding upon her under such circumstances, when she mentioned no differences between you and her? She asked you about a third person. Other members of the Winter Park Ecclesia had expressed an intention of asking you about this matter. Since they have received this and other hints and warnings which strongly indicated that you were conducting a “whispering” campaign against me, they were desirous of having the Truth and facts come out. Would they have been violating Matt. 18 to ask you about it? Your befuddled thinking here, as elsewhere, is so glaringly ridiculous I would consider it unbelievable were I not personal witness to it.
And I can but answer “nonsense” to you. Par. 2, Page 5, where you speak of my “prying questions” based upon my “suspicions”, etc. Brother Gavin categorically told me Brother Eschrich had slandered me – based upon what he had heard from you; and others involved you in vicious gossip that had come to them. You had been specifically involved in the general content of all the questions I asked you in my letter of April 1; and your profuse play on words here can mean nothing more than a smoke screen in an effort to cover up for the evildoers in this leprous Spiritual debauchery! With all those “other considerations” present on March 15-17 – coupled with your refusal even to write me a letter since June 15, 1954 – not even asking for a report of my Pilgrim activities for 1954 –, you proceed to write me a character recommendation on March 24, 1955 followed by a special article in the May PT denouncing the injustice that had been done me – all of this while you plead “I am not sure what it was all about”. Need I suggest that this requires much more explanation than you have given to it?
And, though you may not have “known what it was all about” on March 24, you certainly did know “what it was all about” when you had your conference with Brother Gavin on May 7 and 8; and you did know “what it was all about” when Brother Eschrich, you and I were at Muskegon May 28-30. And, having been fully informed by then of “What it was all about”, did you even hint that you and I talk over such a serious matter? Did you suggest to Brother Eschrich that he talk to me, at least to tell me what you claim he told you? O, no, nothing like that from you! Instead, a month later you write me seven pages, which contain the vague comment that you talked it over with Brother Eschrich – once more behind my back; and you offer quite some elaboration that I must be a disgruntled troublemaker with a “bad spirit” if I do not agree with your unscriptural course. At every utterance from you it becomes clearer and clearer that the one goat of Leviticus 16 was “for Azazel”; “his servant ye are to whom ye render service”.
Page 5, Par. 6. Your statement here is in direct conflict with others I have. I am told you were specifically asked about the Sister – slander, and that your conversation plainly showed that you knew about it; but that you tried to give it the brush-off that you were “too busy” to be concerned with such small items. Then, later in private conversations, I am told you freely admitted that “every one that came to you with the slander about me you had informed them it was not true, told them not to spread it; and you would continue to do that.” Now, which place are you telling the truth – here in your letter or when you were at Winter Park? Since you admit in the May Present Truth that you knew of “magnified slander” from “mouth to mouth”, it must be your winter Park statements are the truth. Therefore I ask – Did you ever once advise me that my good reputation among Truth people was being assassinated – in accordance with Brother Russell’s article, and the requirements of the Golden Rule? Did you ever once advise any who came to you with it that they should come to me with it – in accordance with Bro. Russell’s article and the Golden Rule? Or, did you wait until the matter became much too warm for your personal comfort before you even generalized about it in the May Present Truth and attempted a belated and lame cover-up with your letter of March 24?
Page 6, Par. 1. You ask if I “recall when this Motto Text”....in “due time” was used by Brother Russell. Yes, I recall it. in my letter of Jan. 18, 1954, Page 2, par. 2, I said: “I repeat that your abortive efforts can result only in failure. I wonder if you recall one year’s Motto Text of Brother Russell, showing the opening chestnut burr and underneath it the words IN DUE TINE?” I’m glad you brought that up, though – very glad! Brother Johnson plainly and emphatically said his idea of “due time” for having all the unpublished literature into the hands of the brethren was October 1956 at the very latest – a date now but a scant fourteen months future. Yet you have brazenly and openly declared – by your acts, at least – that you have no respect for his “due time” date; at the rate you are going, you won’t have half the remaining books in the hands of the brethren come this fall a year. You have raised a great hue and cry about my “out of harmony” on “not a fundamental doctrine”; yet you yourself are boldly declaring your own “out of harmony” with Brother Johnson on a matter that is fundamental and of great importance to all God’s people – while you state from the other side of your mouth how you are “in full harmony with dear Brother Johnson”. This is simply another instance of Revolutionism by you! When you say “two of the above mentioned books have already been published”, you are simply stating another falsehood. Brother Johnson had said he was preparing to publish Vols. Nos. 15, 16 and 17 in 1950. He published No. 15; then you came along and published No. 18. Furthermore, when you say “many of the articles which are to appear in this volume (your mis-numbered 17) have been appearing in our magazines”, I wish you would please refer me to just one article that has appeared since Brother Johnson’s death on the real Vol. 17 – “Numbers, Vol. 2”. It would seem here is another falsehood to be charged against you.
Page 6, Pars. 2 & 3. I may not be 100% versed in everything Brother Johnson has written; but when some one such as you tries to give me some instruction or correction, I expect you yourself to know what you are talking about. I am quite familiar with what Brother Johnson says in Vol. 10, P. 113; and I agree with his explanation of Heb. 19:1-2. When the Bible states that work would be done by a “great crowd” I think that fits in pretty well with the “great crowd” in the Society giving Jordan its second smiting. But why didn’t you go on and discuss Verse 6? That speaks also of a “great crowd” saying “The Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth”. Brother Johnson states in the very 1941 citation you give that that fulfillment was future; and he stated often enough in other places that the “great crowd” would have a fruitful ministry “after the fires of armageddon” (Rev. 7:14). Why didn’t you say something about that? Are you contending that a “great crowd” has been proclaiming this message since October 1950? By generous count, could you possibly show a hundred? It is little wonder you repeatedly and loudly proclaim your “love for your dear Youthful Worthy brethren”! And do you consider that slanderers and scandalmongers have “cleansed” themselves in harmony with Heb. 7:14? Do You? I may as well quote your own words here, “This it over, dear brother”. Also, you are conspicuously silent on Heb. 22:10 and Berean Comments. Why?
Page 6, Par. 4. Here you say I was “seeking independently to serve the Muskegon Ecclesia on April 16 with discourses”. This is just another one of your falsehoods! At no time did I approach the Muskegon Ecclesia; my first letter of March 19 was to Brother and Sister Seebald, who had given me perhaps a dozen warm invitations over the years to visit them, as Brother Schmidt of Detroit, a faithful Pilgrim under Brother Johnson, had so often done over week-ends when he was alive (and without asking Brother Johnson’s permission). If Brother Seebald referred the matter to the Ecclesia, that is his concern – not mine. His invitations over the past always seemed warm and genuine; and I am sorry I misunderstood him. However, he told me at Muskegon May 28-30 that you had told him there was nothing wrong if they wanted me to serve them without clearing with the Bible House. Did you tell him that? If so, why all the dust-throwing about it now in your letter of June 25? To protect whom? Is this for the “protection” of the Winter Park Ecclesia – or is it for YOURSELF? It is quite clear that you are trying to bury in an effusion of words those pertinent and proper questions I asked you on April 1. This has been a common procedure with you in the letters you have written me over the past three years. It’s not surprising you are swamped with work at the Bible House – while the place swarms with help!
Also, I was told you informed Brother Seebald that my chronological confirmation of Brother Johnson’s statement re the 70 years desolation of Christendom was just “no good”. Inasmuch as I was only enlarging upon Brother Johnson’s statement – and nothing more – do you still want to contend that the 70-year idea is just “no good”’
Furthermore, you say I “for sometime now have been working independently of the one whom the Lord placed in charge”. Do you know of a single instance where I attempted to even offer my services to an Ecclesia? Do you? And, when writing the Muskegon Ecclesia (after they had officially written to me), I said in my letter of March 26 that “my letter of March 19 to Brother Seebald was purely personal to them (Brother and Sister Seebald), and not in my capacity as a Pilgrim”. You must be pretty hard-pressed when you give this matter the twist you do. And, when you bring in Hirsh, Stevens, Cater, Zielinski, etc., I note you give the Present Truth reference where Brother Johnson exposed them all. are you “in full harmony” with him on such matters?
Page 7, last Par. You now come to “something very unpleasant... to suspend me as a Pilgrim”. The only “unpleasantness” in this for you so far as I can see, is you’re now being forced out into the open and admitting what you had already done in fact back in 1953. In fact, it would seem you had already decided on this course at the time of Brother Johnson’s funeral – because I received no hint from you of any requests from you to serve brethren anywhere. When I arrived at Philadelphia Convention in 1951 (almost a whole year after Brother Johnson’s death), you offered the lame alibi that you would have given me a place on the program had you known I would be there, to which I answered – “You could have found out by asking me, couldn’t you?” and as for dismissing me as a Pilgrim, you cannot do any more than you have done: you cannot add to or take away from what the Epiphany Messenger has established, although I realize you have been attempting strenuously to arrogate the office of “Pastor and Teacher”, to yourself. I am convinced your course is clearly marked in certain Bible Types, so your “profuse words to no profit” impress me not at all. Therefore, I repeat, Consider yourself free to publish this letter – ALL of it or NONE of it – and expose my “errors” and my “oppositional course”.
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle
(Copy to Winter Park Ecclesia)