Why are They Lying About Money? Why are they scamming their own people?
View PDF Tract / The Older The Bolder – Marshall Almarode
Watchtower Society, Money and Honesty
Posted by AF [AF] on September 15, 2000 at 12:12:36
I recently learned some very interesting things about the Watchtower Society’s cash position. When the WTS went to the literature donation arrangement in some of the wealthy countries back around 1991, they lost a major source of cash flow. The same thing happened a few years later when they stopped the food service at circuit and district assemblies. However, they wrote strongly worded letters to bodies of elders instructing them to make up for the lost cash flow. This has gradually been successful, so much so that the WTS has more than made up for the losses. They are cash-rich at this time and are quietly going about toning down some of the rather underhanded means they’ve used to achieve that position.
Today the typical amount of cash sent free and clear to the WTS, generated in the U.S. at district assemblies, amounts to about $12 per attendee. At the four Washington State assemblies at the Tacoma Dome, for example, this amounted to about $120,000 for each assembly. Remember — this is cash free and clear after all assembly expenses have been paid. With about 1 million JWs in the U.S., this works out to about $12 million dollars in contributions directly to the WTS from this summer’s district conventions, from the U.S alone.
In order to generate this revenue, the WTS has, during the 1990s, used a number of schemes to generate more contributions. Some are upfront and some are quite underhanded. Many on this forum know about the Tacoma Dome parking lot scandal, and this is typical of the underhandedness of the WTS. The negotiation of rental contracts for these public meeting places is quite an art, and the WTS is expert at draining the last penny from city officials. No problem here, except when they tell city officials one thing and the JW community another.
One of the perks often thrown in to get the rental business is for the city to split the parking lot proceeds with the renter. Parking at these domes usually runs $4-$5 per car in the U.S. The Society negotiated with the Tacoma city officials that parking lot fees would not be charged, and so gave the impression that parking would be free. However, bodies of elders were sent a letter instructing them to sell parking tickets for about $4 apiece to all JWs.
Neither the elders nor the JW community were informed that the Society had already told the city of Tacoma that parking was to be free. Thus, the WTS lied to the JW community, and collected money for parking via normal contributions. The few elders who knew the truth were instructed to keep all this secret, so that neither the JW community nor the Tacoma city officials would know of their underhandedness. Actually, this scam is pulled wherever the Society can get away with it, generating lots more money for itself. Thank goodness one former JW official had the guts to expose this scam to the newspapers in Seattle.
The WTS is heavily invested in the stock market and so the run up in stock prices during the 90s has given it plenty of money. Of course, the average JW is absolutely sure that the WTS is not invested in Satan’s nasty old system of things. Today they are trying to dispose of the extra cash by dispensing it around the world. One such channel is by applying in the United Kingdom for charitable status for a so-called “Kingdom Hall Fund,” which is to be used to channel “charitable contributions” to whatever “charity” the WTS desires — in this case, its own Branch Offices. What they are doing is trying to use a loophole in British law to get around various laws in various countries about not allowing non-charitable funds outside the country of origin.
The WTS is extremely frugal with its money, but not with that of JWs as a whole. One example is the way they distribute Watchtower and Awake! magazines to subscribers. In the U.S. postal rates for magazines are low compared to most of the world, and so the WTS uses the U.S. Post Office to mail the magazines to subscribers. But in most of the world postal rates are relatively high, and so the WTS has instructed local JWs to run around distributing the magazines. Of course, this is a real inconvenience both to the JWs and to subscribers. The JW substitute-postmen must spend time and money doing what the Post Office can do much cheaper. The subscribers get hit-or-miss delivery of this important spiritual food. Of course, the important thing is that the Society save a bit of money.
Another example has, again, to do with renting assembly facilities. If city officials won’t give the WTS the rental rate it thinks it ought to have, it will often pull out altogether. Sometimes this results in thousands of JW families having to travel hundreds more miles to get to an assembly and having to shell out hundreds of extra dollars to pay for lodging, travel and meals out. This often amounts to more than $500 per family. Suppose at one assembly this means that 2000 families must spend that money. That means that the JW community is forced to spend $1 million, which might save the WTS $1000 in rental fees. You can see the kind of unbalanced thinking that is behind such ludicrous decisions.
Many critics complain that Watchtower leaders are quite unconcerned about Jehovah’s Witnesses as individuals. The above inform-ation is one proof that this is true. They are far more concerned with making themselves look good to their peers — meaning other WTS officials — and perhaps to God, although it is clear by their dishonest and underhanded dealings that they really can’t care what God thinks, or they would be honest in everything. They must think that God, like them, cares more about money and “getting the job done” than about individuals.
Today the WTS is lessening the burden of contributions demanded of congregations. They have instituted policies of charging lower interest on the congregation’s own money that it contributed to the Society for Kingdom Hall building, of charging less money for insurance and such for Circuit Overseers, and a number of minor things. I have little doubt that public exposure of their underhandedness has helped this to occur. – AF