P.s. Go easy on me Friend. I realize my post is full of….
LOL. Actually, I liked your post. You asked legitimate questions. Let’s take a look at them.
What I mean is, why would not the "received free-give free" principle have been instituted long ago?
The message of good news is what is free. On the other hand, even Jesus’ followers recognized the need for financing various activities. Otherwise, why have a money box? Why talk about an equalizing?
Did Jesus’ earliest followers require a measure of financing in their efforts of spreading the good news (which news was free)? In various forms, yes, they did. In some cases this was no more than subsistence for themselves personally. Later there was apparently some more organized assistance.
As for JWs today, money has been connected with our work of teaching what we believe only to the extent of covering unavoidable and necessary expenses. More or less, that is similar to what Jesus earliest followers did and Jesus himself. After all, how much pay-back has the Society received from shipping missionaries off to lands like Papua New Guinea?
Why only this year has the Society stopped charging interest to congregations borrowing money they themselves donated to the Society?
Actually they did not stop charging interest. What they did was lowered the annual interest rate (simple interest, BTW [BIG difference]). Off the top of my head they were lowered from about 6 or 7 % to 3 %.
Also, I have heard this objection of paying interest on borrowed-back-donated-money before. Let me ask a question. If a congregation really donates money then what are they doing? Are they saying, "Hey, hold this for us until I want or need it back?" Are they saying, "Hey, I am giving this money to you, but if I want it back unconditionally then that is what you should do?" Of course, that is not what they are doing. They are giving it into someone else’s charge to do with as they see fit. That is the nature of donated money.
Now, the Society does have an arrangement for conditional donations. In that case then congregations can do just as I alluded to before. They can then say, "Hey, hold this for us until I want or need it back?"
So, if a congregation has really donated their money then they have accepted that that money is now being used for other purposes and it is not theirs any longer. If they demanded that money back then would it really have been a donation in the first place? Furthermore, considering the rate of interest (and type of interest) paid on such loans, congregations are doing little more than paying the present value of past borrowed dollars. In other words, $1,000 borrowed today may be worth, let’s say, $1,300 dollars in 10 years. If the congregation uses the money over that period then they are doing nothing more than paying back the same value of borrowed-back-donated-money as they borrowed at the beginning of the period. In that way their original donation remains intact as just that, a donation; they have not asked back that which they gave.
As an aside, there are cases where congregations needed a building but could not afford the monthly payments of that borrowed-back-donated-money. In lots of those cases the Society has responded by saying, "Pay it back as you can afford it" with no conditions.
Why is the "donation arrangement" not universal in that some countries still charge for literature?
Same as above. The Society’s policy is to establish finances based upon local laws. In some lands that allows for what you call a "charge" for literature. In fact the Society is not seeking to gain from finances at all. That is why the tax laws of those lands allow it in that fashion. They are only seeking the same as Jesus’ earliest followers, to support the spreading of their beliefs. Regarding those "charges", it is hardly reasonable to say that those modest sums represent anything more than a token of what they are worth to those who give it.
As an aside, in poor lands the Society has long provided literature at no cost whatsoever (no charge). To this day the more affluent branches offset the needs of those other branches.
In short, the Society does different things in different lands because they are doing what works best depending upon laws which differ from land to land.
Edited by - Friend on 6 June 2000 23:19:33