What are the WT Society's expenditures?

by Apognophos 21 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Apognophos

    I'm hoping someone who has at least a little inside knowledge can help educate me here. What sort of things does the WBTS pay for, on a worldwide basis?

    - I understand that KHs are owned and funded locally, at least where the locals can afford them, but what about in poor areas?

    - I know that the WTBS pays for the materials to construct assembly halls, but of course the labor is free.

    - They have to pay to run Bethel -- in fact, all the branches worldwide, right?

    - And of course, to print the literature.

    I ask because I see references to how much the Society owns in real estate, and it makes them seem very comfortable, but then we see all sorts of cutbacks that make it seem as if they are seeing their funds drop. Does the literature really cost that much to print? Have printing costs really gone up? I recently suggested in another thread that it was the building of Halls in poorer lands that was the problem, only to be told that they're not really paying for that. Help a confused ex-JW out? I don't have the HQ connections I used to, that I could ask this stuff.

  • ronwashington

    I'll try to respond to everything at least as it pertains to the U.S.A.

    In the US, Kingdom Halls are paid for by the congregation. The Society does offer low interest loans to congregations trying to build a hall. Assembly Halls are actually paid for by the congregations that will be using the hall. I'm sure in some rare instances the society might foot some of the bill, but that's a rare thing. The society has a separate fund for donations to put towards building kingdom halls in poor countries. I don't know if that money is given out unconditionally or if it's a loan.

    So really the society's expenses come from running the branches and the expenses for those in the religious order of JW's (bethelites, CO, DO, missionary, special pioneer, BIFs). It can get expensive. It's one of the reasons the society is moving out of brooklyn and why cut the number of bethelites in the US by a third. It costs twice as much to house,feed, etc. a bethelite in NYC than at the other locations. I don't know what the stipend is for bethelites any more or for others like CO's, but it adds up. Printing costs definitely are always increasing for various reasons. Making the Awake monthly, cutting the WT to 16 pages, and putting stuff online is absolutely a cost-saving measure. You also have to factor in the millions they have paid out in lawsuits over the past decade or so.

  • Slidin Fast
    Slidin Fast

    Just one correction to ronwashington. The assembly halls in the UK were totally financed by the circuits using them. The money for materials as well as the labour were provided by the congs in the catchment area. People gave their money jewellry and other valuables.

    The circuits then pay rent to use the hall that they have bought and built themselves.

    Who owns the facility once built? Hmmm, I wonder.

  • pontoon

    Judgements and out of court settlements

  • Bob_NC

    So true about the Assembly Halls, in the US anyway. They are paid for by the Circuits that use them. A building fund is set up to accumulate the $$ to get it started. The Society "might" pitch in a part, but usually not. They are built with volunteer labor and then each Circuit is charged by the WT Society to use the facility. How clever.

    Similar for Kingdom Halls. The Society has a Kingdom Hall Building Fund box in each congregation. Each congregation forwards $$ to the Society monthly collected from the box. The money is pooled at headquarters and then doled out as relatively low interest loans for KH builds. Each congregation pays their loan at interest and the WT Society continues to collect contributions from the boxes as well. How clever.

  • ronwashington

    Slidin, that's what I said, the assembly hall is paid for by the congregations using it. Not sure how it's a correction.

  • Apognophos

    Thanks for the answers, that's helpful.

    I don't know what the stipend is for bethelites any more or for others like COs

    Last I heard, the Bethelite stipend was really low. I hesitate to say, but I think it was no more than $40, maybe less? Maybe it goes up for longer-term Bethelites, dunno. I believe I heard recently that the CO stipend (which was said to be optional; not all COs request it) is between $70 and $80 a month. Possibly others more in the know will correct me on both of those numbers.

  • ronwashington

    Oh wow no. The stipend for Bethelites was about $110 back in 2002 so it has to be more. About half of that goes to transportation. If the Bethelite uses the subway to get to meetings, that adds up. Also, if you get a ride to the meetings you're 'supposed' to give the driver the same dollar amount as a subway ride. Right now the subway is 2.25 So if you go to both meetings plus Saturday service (which you're 'supposed' to do) that's $54 a month right off the bat. There goes most of the stipend.

    I might have to email my CO buddy and find out their stipend. Special Pioneers get money too but I'm not sure of the amount. They are in a strange situation since the congregation doesn't pay for their expenses and they live on their own.

  • Apognophos

    Ah, okay. I don't know why I thought the Bethelite amount was so much lower.

    Still, considering that construction expenses are placed on the local congregations/circuits, it seems like the single major expense has to be the printing, which explains why it's so important to reduce those costs with cutbacks in the number of printed pages.

    Of course, there's also those pesky lawsuits. I guess my real point behind all of this is whether a multi-million settlement is just peanuts to the WBTS, or it's actually a serious kick in the gut. I see both opinions on JWN.

    If only the printing costs are multi-million dollar expenses, then we're not necessarily talking about a corporation that can afford a lot of court losses/settlements. If they routinely spend millions on other stuff as well, like running branches, then they're probably taking in enough donations that they can weather the Conti loss (or unknown settlements) more easily. Does that make sense?

    I guess the unknown factor that I'm not hearing a clear answer on yet is whether the Society is paying for Halls (even cheap ones) in third-world countries. That could add up.

  • ronwashington

    They don't pay for those halls. First world countries do.

    I'm sure those law suits add up. As mentioned, they've been paying out MILLIONS over the past decade in settlements.

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