Three graphs in connection with the Watch Tower's current financial situation
Interesting graphs - I assume the reason that the number of staff overall has increased is that the WTBTS have focused their resources and expanded the world HQ in New York & largest branches in countries like the UK , Mexico & Germany. The Bethels that closed have usually been smaller branches which sometimes only had a handful of staff.
I know the WTBTS has culled a lot of surplus staff but this will always be a difficult process and those who know how to play the system will manage to stay in Bethel. I'm related to a couple of "old stagers" in London Bethel who basically don't really do anything other than maybe a bit of cleaning or paperwork occasionally but would still be counted in the head count. I remember asking one of these if he was ever worried he would be "reassigned to the field" and he just tapped the side of his nose and said " you need to have contacts , boy! - we'll never have to leave".
The overall doubling of costs is a bit more puzzling but as the WTBTS doesn't produce audited accounts in the USA its always impossible to know for sure. Maybe increased medical costs etc.
Just asking a silly question, can a "special pioneers, missionaries and travelling overseers" work at Bethel or is it exclusively someone who preach? (i.e. could this be a way to pay salary to specialized workers)
bohm the full phrase is "special pioneers, missionaries and travelling overseers in their field service assignments". This would seem to exclude workers at bethel, but who can be sure?
As I mentioned, what began as a very precise figure, down to the last cent, when it was first published in 1985, has become progressively more vague, until now it's a figure is given as "over" a certain number of million.
The $236 million figure is only the money spent on special pioneers, missionaries and travelling overseers "in their field service assignments". It doesn't include other costs such as workers at branches, literature and other production costs, legal fees and whatever other expenses. Yet the $236 million figure alone works out at $2000 per congregation. If other costs have been increasing at a similar rate then it's easy to see how costs may have spiralled out of control in recent years. On top of this donations may have suffered because of the recession, less literature being handed out, and legal settlements in the news involving millions of dollars. It's a perfect storm.
So the burden on congregations just to keep the Watchtower afloat must be considerably more than the $2000 figure. Maybe $5000, upwards? This is not including congregation expenses.
Thanks for the clarification SBF
Keinzelard, in answer to what I think is your question, it is not lack of money causing a lack of membership growth. Nor is lack of membership growth the primary cause of money problems. WTBTS seems to be facing 2 separate major problems at the same time. The first problem is that WTBTS traditional source of funds, selling bible literature, doesn't generate income any more. The second problem is that their proselytizing efforts are failing. The 2 problems are related, but it is not one causing the other.
Maybe increased medical costs etc
I think you are onto something. Apostates, pedophile cases, and medical costs may be Watchtower's biggest problems. Paying attention to inflation by sector, medical cost has by far increased faster than anything else.
If only Watchtower were an open and transparent organization that did not practice "theocratic warfare" especially when it comes to numbers.
Then again, if it was, it wouldn't be the type of organization that we'd have to worry about.
I wonder if another way of explaining the rise in expenditure as growth has slowed. Is that as the old guard has died off GB.01 and the new guard has taken over GB.02, then so has their spending habits. I wonder if flying business class would reveal a bigger picture of new and different type of spending. If this is what has happened then the 7 guys at the the top must be watchtowers greatest cost and their spending must be quite different and lavish to the previous one.
Yes it occurred to me that they may be facing a demographic squeeze. If I understand the Circuit Overseer guidebook correctly the Watchtower Society has made a commitment to Circuit Overseers who have spent a certain amount of time in the job that they will be pensioned out as "special pioneers" when they reach retirement age. If they really honour this commitment then it must be a tremendous financial burden, and increasingly so as pensioners live longer.
I think the Watchtower may really be facing something of a financial crisis, the sale of Brooklyn properties only affording a temporary reprieve.
It might explain the "bunker mentality" of the recent videos and magazines. The Governing Body may realise that with donations down, and costs up, they only have funds to last a few more years. They really believe it's God's organisation however, so they may be convinced that Jehovah will bring Armageddon before they run out of money. This might explain the more extreme end time drumbeat of late and harsh crackdown on faders. They are going for broke, literally.
It wouldn't surprise me if the leadership receives money in a secret way.
As in, illegal payments/payroll disguised as 'expenses'.
I am convinced the deception is premeditated and planned for maximum profits. I hope this is proven true and the criminals at the top are brought to justice for their evil practices.