Beth Sarim - Background

Background

In 1918, Watch Tower publications began predicting, under the direction of Rutherford, that Old Testament patriarchs or "princes" would be resurrected back to earthly life in 1925. It was taught that these "princes" would become earth's new leaders and that their resurrection would be a prelude to the inauguration of a new earthly society and the abolition of death. (It had previously been taught that these individuals were to be raised shortly after 1914.) These "princes" would use Jerusalem as their capital, with some of the "princes" being located in other "principal parts of the earth." Despite the failure of this prediction, Rutherford continued to preach their imminent return.

During this time, Rutherford spent winters in San Diego, California, for health reasons, and "in time, a direct contribution was made for the purpose of constructing a house in San Diego for brother Rutherford's use." The property was acquired in October 1929 by Robert J Marten and was given to Rutherford in December for the nominal fee of $10 (current equivalent $134). The house was built in that year. Rutherford named the property Beth Sarim and dedicated it for the use of the expected Old Testament "princes", who were now expected to be headquartered in San Diego instead of Jerusalem. The deed for Beth Sarim, written by Rutherford, said that the property was to be held "perpetually in trust" for the Old Testament "princes" and was to be surrendered to them once they arrived. It was located in the Kensington Heights section of San Diego over an area of about 100 acres (0.40 km2), landscaped with olive, date, and palm trees so that the "princes" would "feel at home." The 5,100 square feet (470 m2) residence, designed by San Diego architect Richard S. Requa, is a ten-bedroom Spanish mansion with an adjacent two-car garage. The building costs at the time were about $25,000 (current equivalent $334,000). Writing in the book Salvation in 1939, Rutherford explained that Beth Sarim would forever be used by the resurrected "princes".

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