What is the financial cost to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses?

by Thechickennest 18 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Thechickennest

    Has anyone ever figured out what the cost is to be an average active JW? I am thinking of the JW costume of clothes for the whole family & drycleaning. The four door sedans, the fuel, repairs, and auto cleaning up costs after running a shuttle service at least serveral times a week. The purchase of literature to pay for twice, the contributions to the various funds of the WT corporations, the therapist's bills, the prozac, the legal costs, The missed work to pioneer in one form or another, The travel, lodging and food costs to the conventions every few months, etc.

    The list really never ends. Its no wonder the WT society frowns on its members having pets, taking part in recreation, and generally just having their fingers pointed at you all the time about how you spend your money and time. It takes so damn much money to just support the cost of doing business as a peddler and representative of the Watchtower!

    The cost is thousands of dollars per year per family. Would it not only be fair to have a breakdown of the costs in the many publications used to brainwash people to inform new recruits about the money part?

  • JWdaughter

    All religion will pretty much have expense$. It is the life cost that gets to me!

  • no more kool aid
    no more kool aid

    We were just talking about this today on a family shopping trip. How nice it was to buy a few "fun" clothes for the kids instead ties and dress pants, it seems like somebody was always outgrowing something to wear out in service or to meetings ( very hard to keep growing boys in suits, dress shoes and dress coats). We also talked about how much it would have cost to drive in our rural territory. I would spend the rest of the day cleaning the car, finding watchtowers for tommorrow and ironing those dress shirts( being pissed off ). I noticed I was never able to work more than a few days a week because I was constantly getting ready for a meeting, service,hall cleaning, circuit assembly, district assembly, circuit overseer, special weeks of activity and preparing talks. Now I am able to work more (seems effortless). We, for the first time in our lives, relax and enjoy evenings and weekends. Doing some charity work in our community that people actually appreciate Priceless

  • Confucious

    I don't think it's really as much as you would think.

    For almost ten years, both me and my then wife served as regular pioneers.

    Clothes? It's a wash. Really - guys need 2 suits, a sport coat and some shirts. Girls need maybe 3 new dresses a year. Really not much difference than "worldly" people who need to keep up with the latest fashions. Plus... most of your meeting clothes doubles as work clothes.

    The Conventions? Yeah... you have the drive and the hotel room. But that doubled as your "vacation."

    The Field Service gas - lets face it - you're really carpooling and the average JDub with 10 hours a month - drives what? One Saturday afternoon a month?

    Probably the biggest expense is your actual time - going to meetings and the actual hours of doing field service.

    Me and my then wife pioneered for about 10 years.

    I think for every year that we pioneered... that we had a net loss of about $10,000.

    We worked our a$$ off with both pioneering and working our jobs - and after we stopped - we ended up with about $90,000 in debt.

    But back then, if I could "buy" a year worth of pioneering for $5,000 - I'd do it.

    We both pioneered and we didn well - but I do estimate that we went in the hole $10,000 each year.


  • ID Crisis
    ID Crisis

    To me, there's no significant financial cost. I have really tested the argument that all contributions are voluntary, by giving very little. I pick up the lit, a couple of times I put in $20 or $50 dollars - that's about it from me for the year. I don't contribute every week/month. I actually don't remember to do so. I need to remind myself to contribute - I do think it's only decent to contribute to my use of the venue + the lit. Clothes, not an issue really, being a female JW places an emphasis on skirts/dresses rather than pants, but no big deal. I don't buy new outfits for conventions. What for? I often take my small two-door car to FS (v our big 4-door car) - depends on what's happening at home, who's going where, etc.. 'Often' is not really often because I only go out in FS once or twice a month for 2 hrs a pop - I'm one of 35% of our congregation apparently who do 5 hrs or less FS per month. I work practically full time in my professional job and therefore there's no loss of income. I do buy 'KH pants/shirts' for the boys, that's probably additional, but we do receive hand-me-downs from a (JW) friend and that helps too. The conventions do cost in terms of accommodation for the whole family but as someone else posted, it doubles up as a 'weekend away' - especially for my hubbie is not a JW and attends only 1 of the 3 days. So my issue is not the money/cost ... I have other major issues ...

  • WTWizard

    If you comply with all the rules, you will need at least 2 suits per year (cost about $250-300 each for the whole thing, including ties and white dress shirts). Dry cleaning adds up to at least $15 per suit per trip. Using $3 a gallon (and in some countries it's much higher than that) and 15 MPG (lots of stop and go driving is hard on the mileage), one might expect to waste a good $15 a day on gas. (Of course, if you divide that by 4, it cuts in on that but then you have everyone's calls wasting even more gas).

    Trips to and from the boasting sessions add up. I figure that, if you have to drive 10 miles each way, it can use as much as a gallon of gas per trip (or more). And, there is the littera-trash, the call cards, the donations to the Worldwide Pedophile Defense Fund, the ripoff hotel rooms, meals out (which can really add up), and car depreciation. Not to mention using that cell phone to call ahead to make sure a study is going to be at home.

    However, this isn't the only cost. As we are all aware of, college is just about banned. That means people are going to be stuck in crap, low-paying jobs instead of getting decent ones. That is where the biggest money cost comes from. You are stuck in a job that pays $8 or less an hour, and working fewer hours because you have to attend all those boasting sessions and go out in field circus. You could easily lose out on $40,000 or more a year between lower pay rates and fewer hours of work.

    Time is the other major opportunity cost. Each week, a publisher can easily waste 10 hours or more between boasting sessions, getting ready for boasting sessions, field circus, and those boasting session assignments. If a person is faithful in underlying the washtowels and Kingdumb Miseries, one can waste another 5 hours a week doing that. And that all adds up--pio-sneers can easily waste another 20 hours or more a week between field circus and getting ready.

    Benefits: Negative. You lose many opportunities for pleasure, often long after having quit being a witless. And, you are promoting a scam that is a destruction of value. To me, it is not worth it.

  • jgnat

    The true cost is the lack of financial mobility due to the failure to get a college education.


    That runs to about $40 thousand dollars a year. If a person works for twenty-five years, the total cost over their earning period is a million dollars.

  • johnnyc

    Wow, Thechickennest you are one of those people who like to make things up. You can NEVER find anything from the WT stating you should not have pets, or that you should not recreate...in fact, the very opposite is true. If the WT wanted to place a financial burden on its members to make money, it would not always recommend people live simple financial lives. They do not pass collection plates or charge tithing fees for membership. They don't even charge for one piece of their literature - something not done by any other religious organization. However, to humor your indirect costs listed, I would ask you also make a list of all the costs savings as well. For instance, the costs related to celebrating Christmas, birthdays, and other holidays which have been commercialized for financial gain to the retail empire need to be taken into account. Doing so, you will find a great disparity between the costs - contrary to your point.

  • johnnyc

    jgnat: Can you then show me where the WT says not to go to college...? I did, and am an architect. My father did, and he is a developer. Virtually everyone in my family has extra schooling and it was not an issue with the WT - in fact, my father was an elder - and spent a much time being the PO of a congregation. Where are people getting their information?

  • WTWizard
    You can NEVER find anything from the WT stating you should not have pets

    No, they do not prohibit pets. However, what they do do is suggest that time and money to take care of pets is better spent out in field circus, and that one should not get very attached to a pet.

    or that you should not recreate

    I'll let Blondie have a field day in digging up Washtowels that strongly hint that recreation amounts to time that is better spent in field circus. And how often do people come back from a recreation event only to have Brother Hounder harass them that they should have spent the time out in field circus instead? Plus all the talks at the boasting sessions telling people that they should find the Kingdumb Hell, go to the boasting sessions, and support them for field circus while on vacation.

    If the WT wanted to place a financial burden on its members to make money, it would not always recommend people live simple financial lives.

    In fact, they want people to live simple lives solely to have more to put into the Worldwide Pedophile Defense Fund and to have more time to go out in field circus.

    They do not pass collection plates or charge tithing fees for membership.

    They only hound and harass people from the platform, in the form of guilt talks, to give more. They will insinuate that those who do not give more are unfaithful.

    I would ask you also make a list of all the costs savings as well. For instance, the costs related to celebrating Christmas, birthdays, and other holidays which have been commercialized for financial gain to the retail empire need to be taken into account.

    Now, let's compare the cost of celebrating the above mentioned holidays (along with the benefits in the form of cheering up someone you care about or giving your children a little something to look forward to, that is not every day). True, witlesses do not run up Christmas bills or spend the money celebrating birthdays. They only have dry cleaning bills (which amount to about $16 a person a week or more). They have bills that occur from eating fast, good-tasting poison every day (that stuff adds up). They waste huge amounts of gas in stop and go driving in field circus, all the time (plus wear and damage on the car). They waste money going to the Grand Boasting Session (not to mention that they could have done something more enjoyable). Plus, many of them develop health problems, or develop them earlier, because of the stress of being a witless.

    Can you then show me where the WT says not to go to college...?

    It is very true that many witlesses did go to college--during the period between 1992 and 2004. However, in recent years, they have been clamping down hard on college. Last year, they had the illustration of comparing college to shooting oneself in the head. And they are threatening people with loss of "privileges" if they do not condemn college--ensuring that we are soon going to see congregations with absolute no-college rules. They also did that in the late 1960s, and many people are suffering (only now they are even harsher against it).

    Not to mention the benefit side. You get little or no value out of going out in field circus (I, for one, liked it when no one showed up). I have seen many people straggle in late, still half asleep, and disorganized (if field circus were truly enjoyable, more people would be coming out eager to go). The boasting sessions are all the same--the story about how close we came to perfection, Adam blowing it, and God's Tyranny rebuilding it. And not missing boasting sessions. And spending more time in field circus, inspired by made up examples. And giving more to the Worldwide Pedophile Defense Fund. It's all the same old, resulting in time blurring with no bright spots.

    On the other hand, if I can make someone happy with a nice Christmas gift, that is worth my money and time. Much more so than wasting it on gas so I could go out in field circus.

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