Vow of Poverty scanned from 2002 documents. I believe these are the latest ones unless someone has a newer one. I posted these in another thread but I thought it deserved its own.
OCRd with 98% accuracy...
Initial Cover Page 1 of 4
VOW OF OBEDIENCE AND POVERTYto the
ORDER OF SPECIAL FULL-TIME SERVANTS OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
As an ordained minister, wholly dedicated to Jehovah God. I hereby express my solemn desire to be recognized as a member of the worldwide Order of Special Full-Time Servants of Jehovah's Witnesses ("the Order"). I vow as follows:
1. While a member of the Order, to live the simple, nonmaterialistic life-style that has traditionally existed for members of the Order;
2. In the spirit of the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8) and the prophetic expression of the psalmist (Psalm 110:3), to volunteer my services to do whatever is assigned to me in the advancement of Kingdom interests wherever I am assigned by the Order;
3. To be submissive to the theocratic arrangement for members of the Order (Hebrews 13:17);
4. To devote my best full-time efforts to my assignment;
5. To abstain from secular employment without permission from the Order;
6. To turn over to the local organization of the Order all income received from any work or personal efforts in excess of my necessary living expenses, unless released from this vow by the Order;
7. To accept such provisions for members of the Order (be they meals, lodging, expense reimbursements, or others) as are made in the country where I serve. regardless of the level of my responsibility or the value of my services;
8. To be content and satisfied with the modest support that I receive from the Order as long as I am privileged to serve in the Order and not to expect any further remuneration should I choose to leave the Order or should the Order determine that I no longer qualify to serve in the Order (Matthew 6:30-33: 1 Timothy 6:6-8; Hebrews 13:5);
9. To abide by the principles set out in God's inspired Word, the Bible. in publications of Jehovah's Witnesses. and in policies dispensed by the Order, and to follow the directions of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses; and
10. To accept readily any decision made by the Order regarding my membership status.
Name (please print legibly)__________________
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OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
25 Columbia Heights • Brooklyn, NY 11201-2483 • U.S.A. • Phone: (718) 560-7000
BA January 1,2002
TO ALL SPECIAL FULL-TIME SERVANTS IN THE UNITED STATES
Re: Vow of Obedience and Poverty
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Under the care and direction of the "faithful and discreet slave" (Matthew 24:45-47),
those in special full-time service have always led a life wholly devoted to Kingdom interests.
Your desire to serve in this capacity calls to mind the example of the Nazirites of old who
separated themselves from the day-to-day concerns of the dedicated Jewish nation in general and,
by taking a vow, undertook special service to Jehovah.—Genesis 49:26 footnote; Numbers 6:1-8;
Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 2, pp. 477-8.
Similarly, special full-time servants are known worldwide, by the brotherhood and even
by those who do not serve Jehovah, for living lives dedicated full time to supporting and
spearheading the all-important Kingdom proclamation work and in caring for the needs of the
congregation. This is in contrast with most of our brothers and sisters who are required to
balance Kingdom interests with necessary secular employment of one kind or another. Although
the work of those in special full-time service began in the late 1800's, for some time now those
serving in this manner have been known as members of the Order of Special Full-Time Servants
You have previously signed a "Vow of Poverty," which is on file with the branch office.
However, as you know, our religious order was recently incorporated as a separate legal entity in
the United States. The name of the corporation is the Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses,
and the name that will be used for the order is Order of Special Full-Time Servants of Jehovah's
Witnesses. Because of the formation of this new legal entity and for several other reasons, the
Governing Body has directed that everyone currently in the Order should take and sign a revised
Vow of Obedience and Poverty ("Vow"). Enclosed are two copies of the revised Vow. You
should prayerfully consider each portion of the Vow. If you are in agreement with it, then you
should sign and date both copies and return one to the branch office by January 31, 2002. You
should retain the other signed copy for your file.
Why is it appropriate for all in the Order to take and sign this Vow? Doing so
demonstrates willingness on the part of every member of the Order to serve under the direction of
the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses in an arrangement through which they can devote
their full-time efforts to advancing Kingdom interests. (Isaiah 6:8) It documents the
understanding through which each member of the Order provides his services, something that
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assists governmental agencies to understand better the self-sacrificing rather than pecuniary
motivation of those who serve in special full-time service. Reading prayerfully and signing the
enclosed Vow demonstrates that members of the Order are committed to live simple,
nonmaterialistic lives of service to Jehovah and our brothers. Having all members of the Order
sign the Vow helps to avoid misunderstandings and confusion that might occur if some have
signed the Vow and others have not.
All in the Order, members of the worldwide Bethel family, missionaries, special pioneers,
traveling overseers and their wives, Assembly Hall overseers and their wives, international
servants, and Kingdom Hall construction servants, are subject to the provisions set forth in the
Vow. Although the enclosed Vow contains some changes to the document you previously
signed, the Governing Body has made no change in the structure of your work nor has it
mandated a change in the life-style of those in special full-time service. However, some
expressions in the revised Vow may be new to some of you and therefore should be explained.
A religious order is an arrangement to accomplish a common religious, rather than profit-
motivated, goal. Members of the order agree to work toward its accomplishment, often under a
segregated arrangement. In the case of members of the Order of Special Full-Time Servants of
Jehovah's Witnesses, membership requirements include a whole-souled desire to devote all of
one's energies to the advancement of Kingdom interests, following the principles set out in
God's Word, the Bible, and the directions of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. All
live in unity of religious purpose and adhere to a common set of rules.
What is involved in serving under the simple Vow? It means that those in special full-
time service have formally entered into an arrangement in which they agree to expend their full-
time efforts toward the advancement of a religious goal. It also means that they are doing so
without any expectation of being paid, as one would be in a secular setting. Members can enter
into this arrangement because the Order sees to it that each member's basic necessities of life are
cared for. Although the term "poverty" is used in the Vow, this does not mean that the
Governing Body is asking you to relinquish ownership in property that you now possess or that
you may acquire in the future. Rather, this expression means that you agree to forego the
expectation of being paid for your endeavors while serving in the Order and that you also agree
to not seek gainful employment while serving in the Order. As those of you who have devoted
many years to special full-time service can verify, this is the arrangement under which special
full-time servants have been living for many years, even prior to the time when this arrangement
was formally documented through the signing of a previous vow.
Concerning point six of the Vow, sources of income other than work are not affected by
being under this Vow. It does not pertain to income such as interest from bank accounts or
bonds, dividends from stocks, rent received from property owned by the member, and other
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income unrelated to present personal efforts. It does not apply to gifts, inheritances, or
unsolicited benefits, which a member of the Order may receive from time to time. Any of you
who are receiving income from possessions arenot required to turn these monies over to the
Order, although you should be aware that (his income is no doubt subject to taxation.
In summary, reading prayerfully and signing the Vow does not mean that you cannot own
property or that you have determined to donate all your material possesions to the Order. Rather,
it documents that you have agreed to serve Jehovah as a special full-time servant, serving in
cooperation with others in the Order, without expectation of financial gain. and that you have
determined to refrain from any gainful activity while in Jehovah's special full-time service.
We are pleased to present you with this direction from the Governing Body and trust that
this letter answers anv questions you may have. However, please feel free to write to the branch
office if you have any remaining inquiries.
Please be assured of our warm Christian love and best wishes in your service.