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Introduction by Donna Morley Beth-Sarim is a very interesting topic to discuss with your J.W. visitors. If they know anything about it, they will tell you that it was a house that second President, Joseph Rutherford, lived in. Some Witnesses may even elaborate and say that Rutherford lived in that home, purchased by the Watchtower organization, because his health was declining. He needed to live by the ocean air (San Diego, California). The Witness will share this with you, wanting to show you how compassionate the organization is. Yet, some Witnesses will be clueless about this mansion. It's located at Lot 110, and Lot 111 of Kensington Heights, Unit No. 2, San Diego, California. This puts the house at 4440 Braeburn Road (now privately owned). This mansion is 5,156 square feet.

Many Witnesses, when they find out about Beth-Sarim are told by the Jehovah's Witness "experts" the following:

Beth Sarim was not built at the expense of the WTBTS.”

(Taken from http://en.allexperts.com/q/Jehovah-s-Witness-1617/2008/3/Beth-Sarim.htm).

The above statement, mildly put, is inaccurate. Not only does the deed reveal the Watch Tower’s involvement in buying the mansion, but it was purchased for the most unusual reason. It was bought for the “princes” spoken of in Hebrews 11 (we’ll talk more about this in a moment.) An admission of the WTBS being involved comes directly from Rutherford’s own pen:


The title to Beth-Sarim is vested in the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society in trust, to be used by the president of the Society and his assistants for the present, and thereafter to be for ever at the disposal of the aforementioned princes on earth (Salvation, p. 311).

Let’s help the Jehovah’s Witnesses, by clearing things up for them. It all started when Rutherford encouraged the followers to sell their home and businesses and take to the road to sell his books. They were to live in their cars while they went door to door being “faithful.” Their reward? Not only would they one day be in the blessed earthly kingdom (if they weren’t part of the 1914 generation), but they would get Rutherford’s material at a discount. All proceeds, from Rutherford’s books, were sent to the Watchtower.

While the followers believed the money went to spread their beliefs, quite a bit of the proceeds went to help several of Rutherford's schemes. One of those schemes was the mansion, called "Beth-Sarim." In Hebrew it means "House of the Princes."

Why name it, “House of the Princes?” Because Rutherford told the Witnesses that the “princes” of Hebrews 11 (Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthae, David and Samuel) needed a place to live when they came back to earth.

If you are confused about the “princes,” here’s what Rutherford says about them, from his book, Millions Now Living Will Never Die (you can find this book on our website, in the JW section):


As we have heretofore stated, the great jubilee cycle is due to begin in 1925. Since all those listed in Hebrews chapter 11 cannot become part of the heavenly class, they are to be resurrected as perfect men and constitute the princes of the earth. Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews chapter eleven, in the condition of human perfection (italics, mine p. 89-90).

Although the princes didn’t come back to earth, in 1925 (another false prophecy), Rutherford convinced the Watch Tower Society that the organization needed to build for them a house for the time when they do come back. The organization agreed and paid to have a mansion built on a piece of property in San Diego, California for 25,000.00. That was an enormous sum of money, during the days of the depression (deed was signed December 24, 1929). As we know, a very nice home, during the depression, could be purchased between three to five thousand dollars.

As a side note, Rutherford also had another home built (that the Witnesses would have to pay for). Rutherford named it Beth-Shan. You can read about it, and find the deed to that home in Ed Gruss’ book, Jehovah's Witness: The Monuments to False Prophecy.

In regards to Beth-Sarim, you will notice that the home’s deed (which you can print out), is the most bizarre deed there ever was. Some of the highlights are:


...the Kingdom of God will have visible representatives on the earth who will have charge of the affairs of the nation under the supervision of the invisible ruler Christ; that among those who will thus be the faithful representatives and visible governors of the world will be David, who was once King over Israel; and Gideon, and Barak, and Samson, and Jepthae, and Joseph, formerly the ruler of Egypt, and Samuel the prophet and other faithful men who were named with approval in the Bible at Hebrews the eleventh chapter.


...the property shall be forever used for the purpose subject to any encumbrances that may have been placed thereupon (italics, mine)


...said Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society shall hold said title perpetually in trust for the use of any or all of the men above named as representatives of God’s Kingdom on earth and that such men shall have possession and use of said property herein above described as they may deem for the best interest for the work in which they are engaged.


Any person appearing to take possession of said premise, shall first prove and identify themselves to the proper offices of said Society as the person or persons described in Hebrews Chapter eleven and in this deed.

Below is the Deed to Beth-Sarim, as well as

Rutherford’s comments (Salvation, p. 311)

Click here to view Beth Sarim - Deed


You can ask your J.W. visitor the following questions:

1) What have you been told about Beth-Sarim? Do you believe it was built for the “princes” spoken about in Hebrews 11?

2) Show the deed to your Witness visitors. Show them, the names of the princes; show them the Watch Tower’s name on the deed.

3) Show Rutherford’s statement from his book, Salvation, 1939. At the time he made that statement, he had been living in the mansion for 10 years.

3) Show the Witness the wording in the deed: “...the property shall be forever used for the purpose subject to any encumbrances that may have been placed thereupon.”

4) Ask: Who is wrong here? Rutherford and the WT leaders for having made "forever" a condition in the deed, or third President Nathan H. Knorr who sold the Beth-Sarim mansion? If even one of these men are wrong, then is the Watch Tower Society