High priced Kingdom Halls
As to numbers here in Japan, everything is heading south.There are
fewer baptisms every year, fewer people attending the memorial service and fewer reporting field work. The Kingdom Ministry made a
big deal about surpassing 220,000 publishers nearly two years ago.
After that, however, the slide started.Numbers have slipped back to
mid-210,000. There are several reasons for the drop. One is there
has been a lot of bad press, various magazine art. and TV programs
which have listed the WT as a cult. In response to that the org. is
loosening up on a lot of minor restrictions, such as kids being
allowed to get more involved in after-school activities.Also they
are encouraged not to gather in large numbers before and after going
out in field service.Large numbers of suit clad young men who aren`t
going to work, but are rather walking(very slowly) around the neighborhood has a very negative image here in Japan. Another reason
for the drop in numbers is the overall moral quality Witnesses is dropping. A friend who is an elder estimates that 20% of the bros.
are involved in some area of immorality. A recent letter to the elders
went so far as to say that any brother who was looking at porno ON THE
INTERNET and masturbating should be brought before a JC. (It`s interesting that they specifically stated ON THE INTERNET). Another
reason for the drop in numbers is that the year 2000 came and went
with nothing happening. Although not official WT teaching, there was
a strong feeling among the brothers here that the end would come
by 2000. Obviously, it hasn`t. A lot of KM articles recently are
using the guilt trip and repeating the old mantras about putting in
time so that you don`t slide into apostacy and making sure your kids
stay in the org. Most kids don`t any more. It`s real common for a
second gener. to get baptized to make mom happy and then move off on
his/her own and stop going to mtgs. etc. JW in Japan
All of this reminds me.
How would you feel if someone borrowed some money from you then asked you if they could keep it.
In Australia (Sydney) when they built the assembly hall they asked for loans from the bros. Later a leter was sent out to all those who lent money to the effect of "You havent needed this money over the last two years so can we keep it."
I must say I was quite stumbled at the time but as I didn't have any money didn't take much notice. I wish now I had spoken out! It must have put presure on people who wanted to do the right thing.
The org`s `We aren`t interested in money,it`s the Babylonia religions
who are after your pocketbook` facade really grates on me. It`s common
for new brothers in Japan to quit their jobs and get part-time work
in order to take part in the field work and make the meetings. In so
doing they often cut their income in half. One local bro. sold his house upon getting baptized.I suppose it was a display of how commited
he was as well as a sincere belief that the end is near.Over 15 years
have passed since then and he`s really suffering financially.Another
bro. quit his job as a salesman making good money and now he`s working
as a janitor. It seems to mean that if you take a $2,000 per month cut
in your pay to fulfill the org`s demands and peddle their literature,
that`s the same as making a $2,000 per month donation. Protestant churches only talk about a 10% tithe, so who`s really taking their
believer`s money? Has anyone ever looked in to suing the org. for
damages after putting in years of unpaid labor? JW in Japan
few lines to add to the experince mentioned by RR:
"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 change the currency, the nation...but it was
exactly the same event in couple of congregations ..near to me
here in Europe (as I related in a post a while ago).
What a shame to act in such a way! You cannot
take people ...for a ride!
Agape toyou all J.C.MacHislopp
you mentioned a lot about change over there, thx.
a couple other questions:
hows the general feeling among Japan-JWs changed recently? is the pressure to pioneer lessening and have the pioneers been getting increasingly tired, ie have they been able to keep up with 70h/mo?
umm, ill think of more questions later.
Japanese are very group oriented and very fad oriented.During the 1980`s and early 90`s the org really grew here.There was an almost
arrogant attitude among the bros.A kind of `nobody can stop us now`
type of attitude.But, when the `errosion` started in the mid-90s
everyhting began to unravel fast.The number of baptisms plummeted and
the nation as a whole began to look on the WT as a dangerous cult.
It was at that time that a well known `exit counselor`Steven Hassen`s
book about cults was translated into Japanese and it eventually sold
almost 2 million copies. The mood of the bros. changed from confident
to scared. Currently,the org. is playing the `Victim Card`big time.
Also, bragging about growth has disappeared and seige mentality has
set in. Unlike the US most congs are overwhelmingly female.I`d say
at least 80%.There is a lot of infighting among the sisters and many
young men don`t follow in their mother`s footsteps. Since studies
have become almost impossible to find,they`re reaching out to fringe
people (i.e.socially impaired,emotionally weak)to help boost the numbers. Obviously, that doesn`t make for strong field work. JWD
You are correct. For years I have been an elder and about 3 years ago saw some disturbing things in regards to this.
Step #1-Body of Elders and C/O meet with RBC. RBC informs Elder Body that they along with the Circuit Overseer unanimously agree that you need a new Hall. RBC tells elders that they need to cooperate with this obvious manifestation of Holy Spirit just as the Israelites cooperated with Solomon when he built Temple. Elders are then told that they are to only say positive things about new Hall, if any publisher says something negative-elders need to give an immediate positive reply. If any elder disagrees he's told that Mother says we should build new Kingdom Hal Elders who dissent are ostracized, cut down, and systematically removed.
Step #2-Congregation is told that RBC, C/O, and Entire Elder Body Unanimously Agree that a new Kingdom Hall is needed and that they should go along with this Clear Manifestation of Jehovah's Holy Spirit! It is strongly recommended that they vote yes when vote taken. Congregation always votes yes-a few brave souls usually vote no and are looked down upon as un-theocratic and disloyal.
Step #3-New Kingdom Hall is built. Congregation is charged more than the most expensive contractor in area would charge. On top of this they must pay a hefty sum for the property. Besides this 3% interest is charged on the loan and after the loan is payed off the Society in effect retains ownership of said building and property.
Step #4-New Kingdom Hall is dedicated and congregation is told to be thankful for the new Hall that they have received according to Jehovah's merciful arrangement
I look forward to more of your interesting comments
Welcome. A Hint--if you are still an elder or active in the truth, you may want to modify your user name. This board is monitored by 'crybabies' who would love nothing more than to 'tattletale' on you for even spending time on the internet.....
Welcome, Jerry. Your voice of experience is and will be again (I hope) appreciated on this Discussion Board.