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[From ws1/18 p. 17 – March 12-18]
“O our God, we thank you and praise your beautiful name.” 1 Chronicles 29:13
The whole of this article is based on the premise that the organization is really what it claims to be, God’s organization. (See Jehovah has always had an organization for a recent discussion on this topic.) Without this premise the entire reasoning presented in this article is groundless and without substance. The entire thrust of the article is another plea for money.
This plea for money is becoming a regular theme in literature and videos.
- See Seeking Riches that are True WT review (Aug 28-Sep 3 2017).
- See Clam Review of September 18-24 2017 under the Congregation Book Study discussing the Kingdom Rules book Chapter 18 para 1-8.
- See Clam Review of October 16-22, 2017 under Local Needs.
- Jehovah wants us to be Generous (video) in Clam meeting for Nov 20-26, 2017.
These are just the most recent.
The opening paragraphs remind us quite rightly that Jehovah not only owns all resources, but also “uses them to provide what is needed to sustain life.” Also that both our Father and Jesus our Lord have miraculously “provided food and money when needed.” As is usual a Pre-Christian example is quoted to support a Post Early Christian ‘need’, rather than providing an early Christian era example. So because the Israelites were invited to support Jehovah’s specific arrangement for the Nation of Israel, somehow we are expected to support those who claim to be Jehovah’s organization today. Since virtually all Christian religions claim to be God’s one true church or organization, (as opposed to just the Nation of Israel in the past) we surely need some undisputable way of identifying if Jehovah has an organization today, otherwise we would at best be wasting our money, and at worst supporting an organization backed by Satan the Devil, God’s opposer.
There are three questions raised:
- “Why does Jehovah expect us to use our valuable things to give back to him?
- How did faithful ones in the past support the activities of Jehovah’s representatives financially?
- How does the organization use the money that is donated today?”
“Why does Jehovah expect us to use our valuable things to give back to him?”
The real question should be ‘Does Jehovah expect us to use our valuable things to give back to him today? And if so, How?’
Then they give the unsupported statement (in paragraph 5) “Giving is also an expression of our worship of Jehovah”. Perhaps attempting to support this statement they quote Revelation 4:11 but that does not substantiate their claim. They then attempt to apply the pressure to donate by again using a Israelite example (presumably because no first century Christian example exists in the Scriptures), to highlight that as “the Israelites were not to appear before Jehovah empty-handed”, and so by implication we must not be empty handed in supporting their man-made organization and thereby attempt to guilt trip us into contributing.
Paragraph 6 continues this theme of giving support to organization goals with the following “A son or a daughter who may be pioneering and living at home may rightly give the parents some funds to assist with household expenses.” Should not Bible principles govern all decisions and actions? So how does Ephesians 6:2-3, 1 Timothy 5:8 and Mark 7:9-13 affect the matter? According to Ephesians a son or daughter should show honour to their parents regardless of their age, otherwise it will not go well with them in God’s eyes. 1 Timothy clearly says “Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith” His own would be in particular his or her parents. Finally Mark 7 emphatically shows that no-one can hide behind the excuse that they are ‘serving Jehovah’ to avoid the responsibilities clearly laid out in the scriptures.
Therefore this paragraph should have been worded “A son or a daughter who may be pioneering and living at home should rightly offer the parents sufficient funds to cover their own personal household expenses and provide additional assistance for the parents if required. In this way they would be following the example of the Apostle Paul by not being a burden to others, and would be showing honour to their parents.”
It is not a parent’s duty to subsidise a son or daughter living at home or anywhere else for that matter, especially just because they may be pioneering as the paragraph’s wording implies.
Giving in Bible Times
In these next few paragraphs we are treated to a summary of how the Israelites supported the Priestly arrangement, and a few instances where targeted monetary support is mentioned in the Greek scriptures in an attempt to add weight to the organisation’s argument that we need to basically misapply these scriptures so as to support the edifices they have created today that require donations.
One of those instances is the reminder of a rare occasion where giving of money is mentioned in the ‘Greek Scriptures’. It is in Acts 11:27-30. Yet, it is not discussed nor is it highlighted that the monies were sent to fellow Christians as famine relief, rather than to any centralised organizational body.
The article then moves rapidly on to ‘Giving Today’ without having given any decent rationale backed by Scripture as to why one should give money to the organization.
Paragraph 10 goes on to list twelve destinations that the organization requires our donations for, just in case we had forgotten them. Yes, 12, and that is not an exhaustive list, just the ones they consider the most important.
|Organization requires funds for:||Comment|
|New Kingdom Hall||Unnecessary overhead – No scriptural basis but at least Donator benefits|
|Kingdom Hall renovations||Unnecessary overhead – No scriptural basis but at least Donator benefits|
|Branch Office renovations||Unnecessary overhead – No scriptural basis|
|Convention costs||Unnecessary overhead – No scriptural basis – 1st Century Christians did not have assemblies or conventions.|
|Disaster Relief||1st Century Christian Practice – not as practiced today|
|Head Office running costs||Unnecessary overhead – No scriptural basis|
|Branch Office running costs||Unnecessary overhead – No scriptural basis|
|Missionary support costs||Unnecessary overhead, – 1st Century Practice was different. Support was by direct person to person donations (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8) not as practiced today.|
|Special Pioneer support costs||Unnecessary overhead – No scriptural basis|
|Circuit Overseers support costs||Unnecessary overhead – No scriptural basis|
|Building and maintaining Assembly Hall costs||Unnecessary overhead – No scriptural basis|
|Worldwide Kingdom Hall building program||Unnecessary overhead – No scriptural basis|
You will note that only two of the twelve have a basis in scripture and both of these are not even carried out today in the same way as in the first Century.
How out of context is the logic presented that “Our brothers, even those who are in poor economic situations, are like the Macedonians who were in ‘deep poverty’ and yet begged for the privilege to give and did so generously. (2 Corinthians 8:1-4)”. There are two issues with this. In all my years as a witness I have rarely found fellow witnesses, most of whom by Western standards were not well off, begging to donate more of their paltry income, as opposed to feeling obligated. Perhaps the reason was exactly the second issue there is with the article’s logic. 2 Corinthians 8 is discussing where the Macedonians assisted Paul and his travelling companions. They saw them, and wanted to help them on an individual level. The donations did not disappear into the coffers of a large organization to be spent however the organization decided as is the case today. What a heavy burden has been placed on the shoulders of all witnesses. (Matthew 23:4-10.)
Not surprisingly they do not mention court case settlements for child sexual abuse victims which are in the tens of millions of dollars per year, and that is what can be gleaned from public records, with no account of the out of court settlements which are made with gagging orders. Yet these amounts must be larger in many cases than the costs they do mention they need contributions for.
After claiming how faithful and discreet they as a governing body are (which is not a humble attitude, it is for others to judge how faithful and discreet someone is) they correctly state “In Bible times, stewards of dedicated funds followed procedures to make sure that donations were used only for their intended purposes.” Then mentioning the example of Paul they say he handled “everything honestly, not only in the sight of Jehovah but also in the sight of men.” (Read 2 Corinthians 8:18-21.)”. It is so sad the governing body cannot follow the same example. They have racked up thousands of dollars fines on a daily basis for refusing to obey Caesar’s law to provide a court with their ‘secret’ list of witnesses accused of molesting children. They are refusing to even reconsider their position on how to handle such cases and thereby building up a costly time bomb. Additionally the fact they don’t utter so much as a squeak that this is how donated funds are increasingly spent can hardly be considered honest in the sight of God and man. Commercial corporations would have to reveal such significant spending and liabilities in their annual accounts, but nothing similar is forthcoming from this organization.
If in “Imitating the examples of Ezra and Paul, our organization today follows strict procedures when it comes to handling and spending donated funds” then why do they not publish the proof, even the procedures by which they operate. What else do they have to hide?
In paragraph 12 as mentioned above they have claimed that “With prayerful consideration, the Governing Body strives to be faithful and discreet with regard to how the organization’s funds are used. (Matt. 24:45)”. Now just one paragraph later they confess they have been just a little naughty, getting carried away. “In recent years, there have been many exciting new initiatives. At times, this resulted in more money going out than coming in for a period of time. Thus, the organization looks for ways to reduce expenses and simplify the work so as to be able to accomplish the most that it can with your generous donations.” Whoops a daisy! Surely our faithful and discreet slave have not been indiscreet and not followed the strict procedures? Surely they didn’t forget Jesus counsel in Luke 14:28-30 about counting the cost before embarking on any venture? Surely not?
So how do all those Bethelites in their 50’s and older who were laid off from Bethel without anything to help them restart their lives feel about this subject? What about the older circuit overseers, the special pioneers, the district overseers who have recently been considered surplus to requirements without hardly any notice, as well? If you know of any why not ask them privately? Note: the complaint is not about the reduction in overhead operating expenses, but the unchristian manner in which it was conducted. If the organization was a commercial company those actions would have led to employee strikes by the trade unions to try to protect their fellow workers from being treated so badly.
The next section attempts to show the benefits of donating to the organisation under the heading:
Benefits from your donations
“Just think! In recent years, we have seen the start of jw.org and JW Broadcasting. The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is published in many more languages.”
Wow, is that the total sum of their achievements with 100’s of millions of dollars of our money? What poor value for money.
- JW.org is not much more than a corporate website. It is nothing unique. For example the Mormons have a site with similar types of content on beliefs. They even have media as well. (www.lds.org).
- Biblehub.com is a site free of charge with far superior resources for studying the Bible, as opposed to Literature of one particular religion as with JW library. Biblehub has interlinear Hebrew and Greek bibles with hyperlinks to Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionary’s and lexicons, etc. It also has a number of Bibles in other languages as well as a large collection of English Translations.
- What about JW Broadcasting? It may be online, but other religions have had an online presence for years and before that many had their own over air TV channels which are still available.
- What about the New World Translation in more languages? A quick review of the BibleSociety.org.uk reveals that they too are translating the Bible into other languages and distributing it around the world. Type in ‘gospel in many languages’ into an internet search engine. A commonly used search engine returned “The Gospel in many tongues: specimens of 543 languages in which the British and Foreign Bible Society has published or circulated some portion of the Word of God…” a publication now available from archive.org, and a later edition of this (1996) where the languages had gone up to 630. Now the organization will claim that their Bible is available without charge, unlike most Bible societies which charge, but that is only because the brothers and sisters are covering this cost with their contributions. They certainly cannot claim to have the Bible in so many languages.
- Finally conventions. How amazing are they? 14 cities with large stadiums filled and thrilling the attendees present. Yet popular singers and musicians often go on world tours of more cities and higher attendance and thrill their audiences too. As do famous sports teams. Hardly amazing, when analysed in the cold light of day, rather so-so, rather than amazing.
- Do you honestly feel closer to the governing body after seeing them on JW Broadcasting? Personally the more I see of them the more I am glad I never attempted to go and serve in Bethel. They seem totally out of touch with the reality that we “am ha’arets” live in, and even out of touch with the scriptures at times.
Paragraphs 16 & 17 consist mainly of quotes without references to enable verification, a crafty way of both avoiding being sued for quoting someone out of context, and others from being able to check the veracity of their claims. This leads to many taking what is said on trust, which as many have found out, was a costly mistake.
Blessings for giving back to Jehovah
The final two paragraphs remind us of how happy we can feel when we give. To that we should add, provided we don’t find out we have been misled and lied too. Then we feel most unhappy even sick that we allowed ourselves to be duped for so long into supporting a ‘Religion’ that ‘is a snare and a racket’ like all the others.
The final lie they endeavour to get us too swallow is “He guarantees that we will receive blessings when we give in support of the Kingdom. (Mal. 3:10)”. As I am sure you will have noticed once again they use an Old Testament citation to support what they attempt to pass off as a New Testament teaching. True the principle of giving to Jehovah is always valid, but the entire thrust of the New Testament is about how we treat others and helping them to know him and his son Jesus Christ rather than maintaining an earthly organization. It is especially disingenuous to make the statement they do, having made the organization synonymous with Christ’s Kingdom in the minds of all witnesses.
The final question asks: “How has this article encouraged you?” It is obvious that by this they hope there will be an emotional response on the part of those answering that they will donate more, and that in turn will encourage or embarrass the rest of the audience to act in the same manner.
All in all this article is a blatant attempt not only to get more donations, but exposes the high level of twisting of scripture, using out of context, and misapplication of scripture they resort to in order to achieve their aims. Are the governing body and the organization acting and handling “everything honestly, not only in the sight of Jehovah but also in the sight of men.” (Read 2 Corinthians 8:18-21.)”?
That is for you our dear readers to decide, ‘but as for me and my household’ the answer is no, and we now regret the large amounts of money we as a household were duped into giving to support such a two-faced and dishonest organization.
Just came from the WT study and needed to vent! I did everything in my power (in fact I went outside) not to stand up and ask a rhetorical question on paragraph 12 “With prayerful consideration, the Governing Body strives to be faithful and discreet with regard to how the organization’s funds are used.” EXCEPT WHEN IT COMES TO THE MULTI MILLIONS USED TO SETTLE CHILD ABUSE. CASES! That could be avoided if we obeyed the superior authorities spelled out in Rom. 13 I could go on as the article was infuriating and in my opinion not only was it… Read more »
Come on everybody, if you had the amount of wasted expenditure that you wanted to hide, would you want to be open and transparent about it ? If I go out and treat myself to the odd burger, I probably don’t tell my wife in case she reduces my tea.
If WT told us how they wasted our money, they would lose some support.
Besides, I note they are also keeping quiet about how they have promised to maintain the Kingdom Halls, after taking all the congregation funds.
Surely we should feel pity for them.
Hi LJ I have a relative who at the moment is travelling to congregations all over Victoria and Tasmania , teaching a maintenance course to all the members of the congs .This “arrangement” is been in operation now for about a year. I asked him why it’s become so important all of a sudden to have a fixed maintenance schedule that’s come from the top, his reply was that if the bros did a proper job of maintenance it would save approximately $80 000 000 a year , I think that is a world wide figure, but heck , if… Read more »
Hi WO Isn’t the arrangement all part of the streamlining whereby some halls will be sold, for all sorts of a reasons, after WT took over the individual congregation funds, with the promise that they would pay for the major refurbishments, whatever that will actually turn out to be. Brain also mentions other promises given. However, getting an answer on anything financial will always be hard, as no one really knows. There are so many corporations, and so few accounts available to examine (even the UK ones – some are available on line – do not reveal much of interest).… Read more »
Isnt now the congregations responsibility for maintaining with that new program they recently implemented?
I’ve never been a JW, but i’ve been involved heavily with evangelical churches for most of my life. This includes small churches and mega churches. Want to hear something interesting? Without exception, as a member, there was always full transparency where every dollar was going. As a giver and supporter of each church I was a member of, I was provided full discloser. I could even ask for the pastor’s salary if I wanted. To take it one step further, most churches I have been a member of had regular financial disclosure meetings that ANYONE could attend: yes, anyone. Of… Read more »
Great review Tadua.Mike,my thoughts exactly the same..other big Charities,like the Red Cross,March of Dimes,Catholic Charities,all have publicly -accessible,yearly disclosures/open ledgers.Now all this time the several(?-correct me here please-)Legal entities under the WT Society’s umbrella,as per many countries,are also registered with those gov’t’s as”a Charity”.Yet in all the comparisons,They come up as the LEAST open!Dear Fellow JW’s,on here looking at all this,wake up–how lofty the GB have become,above all others in their own eyes, Luke 16:15.(So why would they reveal openly the hard factual figures to you,or anyone?Mt.15:14).I am personally looking keenly forward to Christ’s actions in Luke 8:17 regarding this.
Mike, I listen to your podcast. I was wondering if you have thought about having one of these older, literate JW brothers on your podcast for an interview/episode? (not permanent) I think it would give your material some real credibility with Witnesses struggling with their beliefs. For myself this Beroean site certainly felt like an elevated spiritual option when compared to the frankly philistine, pro-secular ex-JW communities online. Even though I’ve been through much the same adversities they have been through as far as judicial harassment, I still feel a desire toward dignified Christian growth. I listen to a few… Read more »
You make a good point JA , while it’s absolutely undeniable that JWorg is sinning in several areas, the vitriol and atheistic criticism coming from some ex jws is off putting, it’s easy for the “in” witness to then justify their need to not change either their belief system or their view of human leaders. These severe critics don’t offer anything better, and again this does nothing to move the thinking of ones who know something’s not right with the org, I personally struggled with this for 5 years, I looked into a whole lot of other denominations and local… Read more »
Thank you Mike for your comparison. Most enlightening. It always astounds me how virtually all religious organisations end up in the big bucks category, why is it that the simple act of wanting to get together and just worship always ends up a financial undertaking? Is it because people just have guilty consciences, and it’s convenient to hand over cash ? Or is there real work been done by all this money and Ime just too blind to see it? Since you have as you said experience with great and small , what is your take on churches and money?… Read more »
Is this JW review?