All this speculation.....
I also believe the corp is run by people in the background but it's the GB that sells the changes to the millions of believers and gets away with it. Also I knew a full time bethel lawyer that was paid. The corp has put bethelites through higher education to meet certain needs. When Schroeder was a GB his son got some kind of business degree. This is a corp taking in millions and giving back nothing except a wish.....support and obey us and god might let you live.
Money and its real [estate] equivalent are a defense, and they are bolstering it. There are riches at the periphery of the organisation. a tax free transfer from the poor to the rich.
I now thing that they are liquidating assets and hide the money, probably planning for an end of their model.
Although I can see both points of view. One thing I will say that the Org I knew back in the 80s - 90s of where it was virtually unstoppable is quite different to the one today of cut backs and lay offs. So something has certainly happened.
I don't see the Watchtower Company going down the drain anytime soon. I would guess that what they have done to lower costs far exceeds the costs of losing thousands of Witnesses every year. In fact, the lost of Witnesses has lowered their costs more enabling the sale of kingdom halls. Just think, after two years they are just going to reprint the same public Watchtower and Awake rags with no new information.
If the scandal for child molesters gets worse and more well known, that will cause an increase in the people leaving, but they will survive. Look at the Catholic Church to prove the point.
The Witnesses are so gullible...anything the Gibbering Body tells them is like from God's mouth. The majority of them will not believe any negative news reports. The witnesses that I know are very upbeat about the latest information.
I think that the new instructions to not waste the rags on people who aren't coming to any meetings will be a big problem because most Witlesses can't defend what they believe, many don't even know what they believe. There will be a dampening on the preaching work.
GB and Co. are stocking money away like squirrels shocking away acorns for the winter. One day, my 73 yr. Old mom will be watching JW dot you know what reruns on autopilot while the GB etc al are sipping Pina coladas in St. Helena.
A few facts that are not speculation:
1. Watchtower used to make millions of dollars a week selling books and magazines. That has completely dried up.
2. In 2015 the governing body made an appeal for more donations because they had a running deficit.
3. In 2015 they abandoned building projects and began laying off more than a quarter of their staff.
4. They have cut printing of books and magazines back to bare bones. Maybe will eliminate entirely.
5. Abuse claims are stacking up in many countries and membership figures are starting to decline.
A few things that are speculation:
1. Despite all appearances, the GB are really evil geniuses who will always have plenty of money no matter what.
2. Because JWs really believe in it the organisation can never go bust.
3. The GB may be dumb but the "money men" who "really run the religion" know what they are doing.
4. The GB just want to make it look like they are in financial trouble to build up a nest egg.
5. Maybe they get charity funding, maybe they have tons of money invested, maybe they have a plan to generate revenue for the website, or maybe from tithing... maybe, maybe, maybe.
SBF - Numbers 1 - 5 seem to be beyond dispute.
Some seem to think that the GB have all of these issues under control and are in the process of seamlessly changing their business model to accommodate them. I don't see how the evidence can be reconciled with that view.
Having huge reserves can mask a crisis for a long time but I agree the cracks are showing. "Jehovah will provide" must be starting to sound a bit hollow.
Watchtower deficits are not real. The same as when you walk into your circuit assembly hall ---the first day "we have a deficit of $$$$$" Not possible, made up fake accounts report.
slimboyfat - A few facts that are not speculation:
1. Watchtower used to make millions of dollars a week selling books and magazines. That has completely dried up. Which is why making donations for the "worldwide work" of the organization instead of for books and magazines was a smart move. I can't speak for every JW worldwide, but we all know that most of the money donated came out of the individual member's pockets because few got many donations out door to door. So, do you think that these JWs that have been donating for this literature for years are suddenly going to stop giving just because they aren't taking books anymore? After all, the money wasn't for literature necessarily, it was for the overall "work". I seriously doubt many JWs have slowed their donations by much and certainly not to the level of being "completely dried up".
2. In 2015 the governing body made an appeal for more donations because they had a running deficit. See "pontoon's" comment above about the reality of such "deficits".
3. In 2015 they abandoned building projects and began laying off more than a quarter of their staff. I'll say that the abandoning of projects is strange on a level and maybe it does signify something. I don't know. Then again, they did a fantastic job of building hype for new KH designs and asking for money and then they haven't built. So it sounds like they got a bunch of money, once again, for a false promise. Laying off of staff is just further savings. That gives them more money. They have no need to support human beings that they don't need to support. Those people were expendable. It sounds more and more like a lean business model that is being hyped more and more in the business world.
4. They have cut printing of books and magazines back to bare bones. Maybe will eliminate entirely. See my response to point one. If they're still getting donations from the members, which is where they were coming from, then with a reduction of printing they're still making money on one end and saving it on the other.
5. Abuse claims are stacking up in many countries and membership figures are starting to decline. Can you provide numbers about membership declining? I haven't seen the latest, but every number I've seen year over year has increased (including memorial partakers, lol). Yes, abuse claims are stacking up. I agree with that. Where are all of the lawsuit payouts? A couple mil here and there aren't crippling in the least, or shouldn't be.
In my view they seem to be going to a more and more traditional mainstream religious feel. Ask for money constantly. Promise potential growth to the church and raise funds and then put off the renovations or additions for whatever reason while raking in money. Put up video boards and get into a more media driven message. I think they're learning from the successes of others. It's as simple as copying "best practices", another business term.
I think the Governing Body has shit for brains. I think they are idiots. However, they are also too stupid to have done this whole rebranding work that has been done. That speaks to someone behind the scenes to me, someone much more intelligent, someone that is pulling the strings and coming up with this flip flopping of how they present themselves, someone that pushed them out from behind the scenes, someone that came up with new marketing through the website and logo, someone that is savvy and that is really running things on some level. I don't know for sure, but think about it, do you see Morris or Lett or any of these guys as capable of running such an organization? Those guys can barely tie their shoes. Those guys were flopping on the JW Broadcasting so suddenly out comes the "helpers". If it was truly all just the GB running things, they would never have removed themselves more from the JW Broadcasts and shared the spotlight. I think someone behind the scenes saw the disaster that was those morons on screen and stepped in. There has to be more to the story that we don't see. There is so much hidden through various corporations and such, things that these guys couldn't possibly come up with.