There’s thousands of pyramid schemes and I’ve been approached by a few friends involved in these “businesses” and warned them — even pointing to articles and stories of ex-schemers on the Internet, yet that same ignorance exists in them that is in the cults. They simply don’t want to hear it. They found something that makes them happy and consider my “evidence” as faulty and assume I just want to kill their joy. Sigh.
A few months later and a few $$$ poorer, they leave their little business behind. I consider pyramid schemes a scam because they don’t actually offer you anything. Where is the product? You pay them for “hope” essentially. In reality hope is free but pyramid schemes capitalize on it and put a price tag on it. Isn’t that also what the Watchtower does? They offer you something that is already free but make you pay for it!
And what about those in-home parties? You know the kind; you get an invitation to gather at a friend’s house for snacks and they present you with an opportunity to purchase some trendy home decor, pastry blenders or candles. Jehovah’s Witness women in my area were notorious for hosting those kind of parties. Unlike pyramid schemes, I do consider them a legitimate business because there is an exchange of money for a product. I went to a few of these JW-hosted parties and noticed it was okay for them to invite their ‘worldly’ neighbors and work associates and share a meal with them as they conducted their sales presentation, but wouldn’t dare invite them for dinner any other time. That would be considered ‘bad association’ according to the Watchtower leadership’s interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:33. Does this tell you anything about their ministry? Jehovah’s Witnesses can be friendly with their neighbors as long as the sales pitch is in progress, but wouldn’t dare be seen in public with them as dinner guests. It’s just business, after all.
Is the Watchtower a business? For all it’s faults I could SEE when I was still part of the Watchtower organization, I must say I did have a hard time seeing where anyone was benefiting financially. I knew I was a volunteer among thousands of other volunteers and as far as I knew, the elders were volunteering their time and the circuit overseers lived on a limited allowance to travel to congregations. I really didn’t think magazine sales were significant even though they were produced and distributed by a free labor force. Were many people at the door PAYING for the Awake! and Watchtower? And even though I tossed some coin in the contribution box when I picked my stack up at the literature counter, it wasn’t that much. So I figured if money was being made by anyone at the top, it had to be through large estates being willed to them by bachelor pioneers. I also wondered if they used their presses from time to time to print orders for firms outside the Watchtower since they had a free labor force.
As a publisher in the Watchtower, I was not privy to the workings at the top. But of course, when elders, circuit overseers and even the ‘anointed’ come out of the cult, we learn about the inner workings of those who spin the schemes.
Recently, Joe, the former elder I mentioned in last month’s blog (see: Springtime Harvest, A Time To Rejoice! ), shared some YouTube videos with me that are produced by a man named JT who was high up in the Watchtower serving as an accounts overseer. He noted that the assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses are huge sources of income for the Watchtower. Though there technically is no charge to attend any of their assemblies, the Society has put a price on every head expected to fill their stadiums. As JT brought out in this video, if that price is $10 a publisher and 1,000 of the friends attend, the account begins with a $10,000 deficit before the first talk! That is why throughout the day there are announcements of a deficit and the friends are encouraged to donate more in the contribution boxes.
I really enjoyed this and several others of JT’s videos and subscribed to his YouTube channel and website both called ExJW Critical Thinker. Check them out!
Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie