Rutherford, Joseph Franklin

Rutherford, Joseph Franklin,

1869–1942, American sectarian leader, b. Missouri. He became leader of the Jehovah's WitnessesJehovah's Witnesses,
Christian group originating in the United States at the end of the 19th cent., organized by Charles Taze Russell, whose doctrine centers on the Second Coming of Christ.
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 (then called Russellites) after the death of the sect's founder, Charles T. RussellRussell, Charles Taze,
1852–1916, founder of the movement whose followers are known as Russellites, as Bible Students, and (since 1931) as Jehovah's Witnesses, b. Pittsburgh, Pa. There he predicted (1872) the second coming of Christ and the millennium.
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, in 1916. Under the direction of Rutherford the Witnesses' attack on the existing social order took on an increasingly revolutionary tone. In 1918 he served a year's imprisonment in Atlanta, Ga., for his encouragement of conscientious objectors. His writings were widely distributed among Witnesses in the United States and abroad.
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