High priced Kingdom Halls

by JWD 44 Replies latest jw friends

  • JWD

    It`s been interesting watching the org. trying different ways to make money while at the same time keeping up a front of not being interested in money. Especially since they were forced to drop the
    subscription fees on literature about ten years ago. I`m sure it`s
    common knowledge by now, but they kept the fees in many poorer countries where taxes weren`t an issue. Three hours south of us in the
    Philippines literature still carried a fixed price until very recently. The theory was that people would appreciate it much more if
    they paid for it. Meanwhile, here in Japan, brothers were being told
    that their contributions were helping the poorer borthers in places
    like the Philippines where they can`t afford to pay themselves.It was
    a great double scam. In the meantime, here in Japan, newer bros.&sis.
    who came in after the voluntary contribution system took the `we are
    interested in money` facade seriously and many contributed very little
    if at all. That put the org. in a bind. They started to push videos and computer software, but combined with the recession here it hasn`t
    been enough. Many cong. which meet in rented space are combining with
    other congregations in order to save rent.Recently, however, the org.
    has come up with a new scam to bring in big bucks. They`re really
    pushing RBC construction KHs. The org. offers to finance the project
    and has the congregation pay them back (with interest) and then builds
    a prefab building with volunteer help. The building itself is very
    simple constrution and would normally run around $90,000 if it were
    built by a normal `worldly` builder. (Here`s where the real money is)
    The org. bills the congregation about DOUBLE the actual costs and tells them they`re getting a deal!! Thus the org. makes money on the
    loan and pulls in a good margin on the building itself. The local
    congregation stays poor and the org. gets richer. JW in JAPAN

  • Frenchy

    Hello, JWD. Welcome to the board. I'm in the construction trade and I have often wondered why the quick builds cost so much since the congregation is only supposed to be paying for the materials.
    There was talk a while back about selling our hall (I was the P.O. at the time) and I was determined to find out then what I have suspected for some time which is that a hefty sum of money is sent to Brooklyn with the quick builds.
    Do you have any concrete information on this?

    -Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it-

  • RR

    Years ago, our congregation wanted to renovate and the Society got involved. My wife and I were totally against the idea. Interestingly, I've noticed that the people who get scammed are scammed from within their own circles, the Society included, they wanted to charge the congregation some $200.00 for a [cork] bulletin board, during the buisness meeting, I stood up and yelled "that's ludicrious, I can go to Staples and buy the same board for $30.00." They all looked at me as if I were crazy, "these materials are all made by the Society, it is quality stuff, we are getting a good deal and supporting the work." Yeah right!

    As to the donation work? I remember when it was instituted, I was in charge of the literature counter, when the announcement was made, people ran to the counter doubling up on their orders, ordering things they would never have ordered if they had to pay, like the NWT on cassette, about $130.00 for the complete set. Pioneers were tripling their 'placement' orders.

    Three months later, we get a letter from the Society, apparently they were keeping tabs. There was an elders meeting, and we were told in the letter that the Congregaton ordered some $2,500.00 worth of literature and only contributed some $500.00 and that we OWED them some $2,000.00, I said, "Owed?, what happened to voluntary contributions?"

    Well, during the needs of the congregation part on the service meeting, the P.O. read a letter dictated by the Society that was to be read, it spoke about the worldwide work, yadda, yadda, yadda and how we need to support it, so the P.O. said, "this congregation will contribute $2,000.00 to the Society to support this work." Everyone but my wife and I clapped, we knew better. The Society still got their money.

    As to taxes, as a Letter Carrier for the USPS, I see all kinds of non-profit religious organizations propaganda, and hear them on Christian radio, "Focus on the Family" and many other ministries half the size as the Society give away their resources, if you simply ask for it.

    Often they say "this book is yours for a suggested donation of $15.00." but if you send them 2 bucks, they will still send it to you. Yet the Society have unsubscribed people from their mailing list, and refused to honor subscriptions, particularly to "apostates." When money was sent in for a particular book, they would write back months later thank you for your donation and say if you need any literature go to the nearest Kingdom Hall, yet when you go to the Kingdom Hall, their just not willing to part with such expensive items such as the Insight volumes and Cd Roms.

    I say let the Society believe what they want, only let them be honest in the way they do things, and they would at least be a little more respected.

    Less Religion and more Jesus!

  • expatbrit


    Hi and welcome to the board.

    Do you have any access to the KM's in Japan? I'm curious to see what the figures are showing.


  • TR

    Welcome, JWD

    Appreciate the info, and looking forward to more.


  • JWD

    Sorry, I don`t have the figures for the KH on an official WT letterhead piece of paper, but the overpricing is painfully obvious.
    As to their financial situation here in Japan, I know that several
    local congregations are hurting financially and I suspect that`s the
    case throughout Japan. The poverty is always kept to the local level
    however. A friend worked with the accounting at a district convention
    in the city of Kobe (where the big earthquake was some years back).
    During the convention, there were several announcements about contri-
    buting for the needs of the convention.When I was over my friend
    helped count up the money and found they were $60,000 in the black.
    The friend thought the excess money would be used to help the congregations in the district. As he was finishing counting,however,
    he was told to hurry up cause a rep. from the branch headquarters in
    Ebina was waiting to carry the money back to headquarters. It was then
    that the friend discovered what really happened to the money. As to
    local congregations, they average about 40 people and have an average
    monthly donation for the KH of about $1,700 (not much here in Japan).
    JW in Japan

  • expatbrit


    Thanks for the info on finances.

    My question about the KM's was actually in regard to the number of publishers, pioneers etc.

    Sorry, it wasn't clear from my post.


  • Frenchy

    I didn't mean to imply that I did not believe you.
    I can verify what you say about money collected at the DC's going to Brooklyn. These conventions are big money raisers for them. Even the attenders of the volunteer built and locally funded Assembly Halls are urged to contribute toward the convention. All of this is sent to Brooklyn. The Circuit Assemblies are sponsored by the circuit but they are expected to send a contribution to the world wide work, the kingdom hall fund, the diaster fund,as well as taking care of D.O. and C.O. expenses as well as any one flown over from Bethel for the Special Day. The Circuit is also asked to donate to any distribution centers and/or Assembly Halls under construction anywhere nearby and they are asked to keep only enough money in the bank to start up the next assembly and to send the rest of the money to the society for their use in a non-interest paying account.
    What I as asking for was anything specific that you would know about concerning any contributions sent to the Society from these quick builds.

    -Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it-

  • JWD

    Some cost cutting here in Japan includes; combining congregations,
    using cheaper materials for the books, cutting back on the number of
    special pioneers (S.pioneers received about $400 a month from the
    org.With most areas overworked and unresponsive it`s become counter-
    productive for them to bang on doors too frequently) Also, there was
    an announcement not to `waste` magazines by giving them to poeple who
    probably won`t read them.
    There was also a very interesting letter to the elders in the Spring
    of 1999. It was about how to deal with the police. Here in Japan,the
    WT is considered at best to be a questionable religion and the activities of the org. are closely watched by a branch of the police.
    The letter to the elders said not to respond to many questions and
    don`t let the police into the KH.It went on to say that if they insist on seeing the inside of the KH, make sure it`s when nobody is there and remove any info from the bulliten boards.

  • Simon

    When our hall was refurbished we were only given one option or design by the regional building committe which was going to cost an outrageous amount (basically, pretty much all we had). One of the costs was for chairs and considering we were going to buy 200+ of them I would have expected the unit price to be cheaper than the price I could personally buy a single chair for from staples or any other office supply type store.

    But hey, the chairs were made by a company which was owned by a brother... who was on the building committe... who decided where the money should be spent...

    The words 'conflict' and 'interest' spring to mind !

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