I've been here a long time and this comment by quietlyleaving finally hit me
Bethels could still serve as pilgrimage shrines
While the WTS criticizes the many people in the world for their pilgrimages they just don't see that those tours of Bethel which are so organized are the exact same thing.
You get a tour of a publishing company. Instead of religion icons and symbols you get books, magazines, printing presses and a short step into all that is needed to accomplish this great publishing empire, like housing, and feeding the "volunteers" who do the work as slave labor.
You don't even get a history lesson except a few artifacts to show they do have a 100+ year history but they are very careful to hide any real info.
- Do they even have pictures of all the past presidents?
- Do they have pictures of the GB?
- Do they take you to where that GB meets to deliberate on the spiritual matters of their teachings?
Those tours really are pilgramages whether they want to call them that or not. People are enthralled with every new bit of info, taking pictures as they go to share with people back home to prove they really did go to a Bethel. Stan Milosevic has quite the shrine on his website http://members.shaw.ca/theotrip/index.htm
If you have never seen Brooklyn Bethel or Patterson or the farm at Wallkill, or the Canadain Bethel take a virtual tour.
You will also see that all that donation money has gone to creating their own little paradise right here on earth.
No wonder they have no idea how the average JW lives to support the WTS