What is the official procedure for JWs in disaster relief situations?

by Franklin Massey 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • Franklin Massey
    Franklin Massey

    Here is my understanding of how JWs handle disaster situations: They are directed to take care of only JWs first. Once all the JWs are accounted for and assisted, they will move on to preaching to others in the affected area but not providing any real material assistance to non-believers.

    I hope I'm wrong about this. I have been told by some people that my view is incorrect and that JWs are also told to go out into affected communities to provide material assistance to non-believers by providing shelter, water, food, etc. This is, of course, after fellow JWs are taken care of first. Still, I'm told they have an organized plan for helping non-JWs.

    Which is true? Please provide evidence either from Watchtower materials, news articles, or, personal experience.

    To be fair, I have never helped with JW-organized disaster relief. I have, however, helped "secular" groups with charity work, which has provoked some ridiculous responses from a few JWs, who think we should "keep it all in the family," so to speak.

  • Alfred

    I don't know what the official procedure is...

    I can tell you that when the earthquake destroyed Port au Prince, Hait, JWs crossed the border from the Dominican Republic the very next day with many trucks filled with food, water, supplies, etc.. These went first to the branch in Port au Prince and then distributed to JWs around the city. Out of compassion, many Haitian JWs shared their food and water with their neighbors (like most human beings will do in situations like this). However, the Society did not go out of its way to try to help non-JWs in Haiti... of course, they later put their spin on this to give the impression that the Society helped everyone they could but the reality is that the Society did not spend one cent to try to help non-JWs in Haiti directly...

  • Mary
    Here is my understanding of how JWs handle disaster situations: They are directed to take care of only JWs first. Once all the JWs are accounted for and assisted, they will move on to preaching to others in the affected area but not providing any real material assistance to non-believers.

    I don't know if it's written in stone, but yes, your description above of what happens is a fairly accurate summary I believe. I think they will provide some material assistance to non-believers once the local Witnesses have been taken care of, but it's always done with the purpose of trying to bolster the Organization's reputation and possibly getting the non-believers to convert.

    I've heard two different stories of what Crooklyn did during 9-11. One story I've heard is that after the buildings collapsed (they had a birds-eye view of the towers directly across the Hudson River) is that they threw the doors to Bethel open and helped many of those who had come running across the bridge. The other story I heard is that they closed and locked the doors and didn't render assistance to anyone.

    If anyone here was at Bethel during the attacks, I'd love to hear what really happened.

  • Gayle

    'Sometimes', 'some' of the local JW or 'some' nearby JWs get in helping with 'some' non-JW individuals beyond JWs for 'some' time in 'some' disasters. The WTS is aware and will publicize 'some' these occurrences as this helps their image. However, this is not considered as dominant mission, work, nor activity and is definitely not to take away from their demanding required door-to-door work.

  • Franklin Massey
    Franklin Massey

    I can't imagine them turning anyone away.

    I also understand the "take care of our own first" mentality. I don't agree with it. But I understand why they would operate that way.

    The part I'm unclear on is whether the Society will reach out to non-believers with no-strings-attached material assistance. For instance, will they have arrangements to rebuild the homes of neighbors of JWs in a disaster area? Or are they instructed to just help the JWs and then, pack up and head out?

    I would like to see some sort of personal testimony, official letter, or Branch policy statement.

  • Scully

    Briefly the official procedure for JWs in disaster relief situations is:

    If they accept the WT, help them. Otherwise, f*ck 'em.

  • blondie


    "In cooperation with local authorities and other relief agencies, the Witnesses arranged to help meet the immediate needs of their fellow worshippers and other victims in Japan, establishing three teams to help organize disaster relief. These teams are working diligently to contact congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the devastated areas and care for the spiritual, physical, and material needs of their fellow believers. The Witnesses’ international relief efforts are being coordinated from their world headquarters in Brooklyn. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is caring for these expenses by utilizing funds donated to the Witnesses’ worldwide work."


  • JW GoneBad
    JW GoneBad

    One thing is for sure. WTBTS profits from natural disasters. When disaster strikes $$$$$ roll into the WT Headquarters.

    The Society discourages, big time, its members from donating to reputable charitable organizations that are designed to help disaster victims. But instead tells the R & F by way of announcement at the Service Meeting to simply make checks payable to WTBTS Worldwide Work and not to specify on the check how the money is to be used.

    Never, ever have I heard a follow up letter read from the platform accounting for how contributions collected for disaster relief cases such as Katrina or The Haiti Earthquake were used. The Watchtower feels no obligation to have to reveal to congregation members how their disaster relief donations are spent.

    That is an outrage! That is greed!

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    The official response (this is based on their past actions):

    1a- If there is a local government or Witness organization that can provide the care (Japan, Katrina, ...), if so, let them do it.

    1b- If there is no local provisions (Haiti, ...) truck in some supplies and a load of Watchtower pubs from a neighboring country.

    2- Rebuild Kingdom Halls and houses of active members in good standing (sorry if you got reproved for masturbating last week). This is based on my recollection of the Organization book or the Elder Book or something with the RBC - it is publicized somewhere.

    3a- Preach! Share some of your leftover provisions with rice christians.

    3b- Make sure you get an announcement out not to give donations for a specific cause but donations should be made.

    4- Print Watchtower article about how they helped their brothers and sisters and shared 'good news' from Watchtower pubs. They don't even claim to help others but if you're a Witness you may be helped.

    5- Collect all government aid in name of Watchtower Inc. (Katrina, ...)

  • Glander

    Anony - you nailed it exactly. Saved me from making essentially the same post.

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