Question on the Special Order... document and its implications

by careful 14 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • careful

    Several times on this forum posts have been made about the "Order of Special Full-time Servants" in the WTS and the document that must be signed by those entering it, Bethelites, COs, and so on. The reason given for the whole thing has usually been for tax purposes, that by signing this document full-timers become exempt from taxation by belonging to this special group. Basically then, end of story.

    However, there is a clause in said document stating that any money made by the full-time worker beyond the allowance given by the Society has to be turned over to the Society. One post here (sorry, can't find the thread now) told about some missionaries or special pioneers who made some money by teaching English in countries where the preaching work is banned. All profits made in this way then had to be turned over to the Society per the terms of the Special Order document.

    What about those full-timers who receive independent income while in the circuit work or at Bethels? Are those who collect retirement income or social security, or have some investment or other income required to turn that money over? Not all Bethelites are dirt-poor, especially among the older ones. Some brothers with families work full-time at a job for years, and when their kids grow up, they become pioneers and then enter the circuit work, living off the retirement program they paid into while working at their secular jobs. Others wind up "being called to Bethel." Does anyone have any reliable info on this matter of having to sacrifice their independent income? Has the GB become so money hungry that even this source has wound up being "collected"?

  • sir82

    There are several special pioneers in my area.

    All of the couples have at least one member, sometimes both, who "work secularly".

    I'll eat my car's tires if even one penny from those jobs is turned to the WTS, as per the documents they signed.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    The vow of poverty only limits income derived from work. Income derived from investments, social programs or retirement accounts do not violate the prohibition on work. A person is released from their vow of poverty when they take vacation time from the order in order to gain additional income. A vacation can be as short as an hour. Consulting services asks members if they have received any additional funds from outside sources only so that they prepare accurate and legal tax returns for that member of the order. Even if a member of the order uses an outside accountant to prepare the tax return consulting services still requires them to have it approved by them as the laws on it is unique and not all accountants are familiar with preparation for someone with a vow of poverty. Neither the branch nor anyone else requires that donations be made from a member of the order that receives outside money.

    The paperwork a member of the order also signs is that the GB and it's personnel committee or service committee can revoke status as a member of the order at any time and that they are not liable for any support once the member is no longer part of the order. All bethelites are aware that their status can be revoked at any time and at the discretion of the governing body.

  • OrphanCrow
    careful: Does anyone have any reliable info on this matter of having to sacrifice their independent income? Has the GB become so money hungry that even this source has wound up being "collected"?

    Those who sign a "vow of poverty" - Bethelites, COs, special pioneers, etc - are required, to turn over secular income to the religious institution they belong to, or lose their vow of poverty status

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    I am speaking because I used to work for a company that would contract with Bethelites a lot when they would take vacation time off to do some work for vacation money.

  • sir82

    The special pioneers I know must have a few hundred "vacation days" per year then...either that or they are not living up to their "vow"....governing body, er, heaven forbid....

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    Vacation time is calculated at 12 days base plus 1 day for every 2 years of full-time service. They also grant additional vacation days for sisters at 40 and brothers at 50 and it goes up I believe at about every 10 years. Also their is concensious, though not official, if you are only required to work 5 days the other time is your own so you can do as you please. The vow is basically there so that you don't work during the days that you are devoting to your vow of poverty.

  • WTWizard

    This is no better than paying to work. Would anyone go to work, and pay for the privilege of working for some regular company? I would simply not sign anything. If that means not getting in that special order, so be it. It also means they get nothing out of me. And I get to listen to whatever rap and heavy metal music I see fit, to let my field circus hours drop (all the way to zero, if I see fit), miss boasting sessions, and even bash the whole LIE-ble as preparation for communism.

    And I keep whatever money I make. Nothing for the Order, and I will work whatever secular work I see fit. Any money I make doing that goes to whatever I want, including buying and keeping silver. As for those who are stupid enough to sign this communism document, I hope it throttles any hope they have for any Israel mission they may have been hoping to do, either the 2017 one or any future one.

  • fulano

    It might depend on the country...when we were SP in the Netherlands I worked about 8 hours a week otherwise we would have starved, most SP did the same. I knew a Bethelite who had a running business , never talked about handing over money.

    In missionary-service we saved up our 28 days (missionaries have always an extra 14 days) to go back and do night-shifts to buy a car or so. Nobody ever asked or commented about it.

  • ctrwtf

    I know of more than a few Bethelites that actually run businesses and pay employees while there. They rationalize that as long as it doesn't interfere with their duties it's okay. That's why "G-jobbing" has always been looked at with a wink and a nod. The whole vow of poverty thing is a joke!

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