in retrospect: RBCs vs LDCs / the hype about a lot of new construction and subsequent abrupt halt to construction

by Magnum 45 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • sparky1

    There is a new hall going up in the territory that I live in. The funny thing is that the congregation bought the land in 2008 and are just getting their new hall 9 years later!

  • darkspilver

    Whats the difference? The pioneer was told it was something he could do and encourage to do so but keep it on the down low because that for just pioneers Etc. It was the same with the RBC

    Whatcha talkin bout Crazyguy?

    It's all explained in one of my posts here from last year... check out the link below....

  • _Morpheus

    This issue really burns me, it touches my heart in ways i wish it didnt but i have to admit it does. I have a lot of emotional distance from the org, i havent been to a meeting for almost two years now and dont miss it at all. I still talk to a few people here and there but overall im gone and happy.

    The building though.... damn im attached still. Not the church part of it... not the worship or cult but the actual physical structure. I built it. Not the branch. Not the goddamn ldc. Me. Morpheus.

    In the mid 1960’s the land was donate by a local brother. He owned a farm and he realized it was time to sell. It was expansive property and he sold to a developer who had to work with the city into which the new community would be incorporated to plan responsibly.

    Brother Smith (not his real name) had a park area set up where people could fish during the summer and sold access for a few bucks to locals. When he sold the land for development he required that the lake be maintained as public property... and Not just a few swing sets or a small field. Its 85 acres with a huge lake still available for fishing and picnic areas. The park bears the name of brother smith to this day and is a huge community focal point throughout the summer with its amphitheater, ice rink, boat rentals and of course fishing.

    Along with setting aside Smith pond park, brother smith wanted his local congregation (a very small group at that time) to have a place to meet in perpetuity. Although only 15 min outside of washington dc, it was a sleepy area, a lot of farms obviously, and few witnesses but brother Smith felt more and more people would move into the area as land was developed and of course A KH would be needed. In the late 1970’s brother smith (who had held onto the land that held his house) decided the time had come for he and his wife to move permanently. He donated the land his own family home stood on to the local congregation for a kingdom hall.

    Plans were made and in the early 80’s the hall was built. It was a model at the time and the single congregation that used it was of course always appreciate to brother smith. The land was never mortgaged and the hall was 100% paid for the day it was built, entirely by local jw’s.

    Fast forward to the late 1990’s. The area had grown by leaps and bounds and now 3 congregations are meeting in the hall that sits on old brother smiths land. A CO comes through, a random company man who never knew brother smith and who had sense of the area or history. He says the hall is about 20 years old and “outdated”. Truth be told it hadnt aged well and had some issues. The local friends simply wanted to remodel but the CO pushed for a teardown. In point of fact (and i speak with authority on this) he bullied the local weak willed spineless men into a teardown, lead by the RBC. The rbc, self important asshats that they were, were all to happy to tear down the hall built so long ago by local jw’s, and replace it with something THEY built.

    Plans took forever as the local municipality required a very high grade of environmental controls (the hall is adjacent to smith pond and park) and good for them! Eventually though all concerns were addressed and the new hall was approved by all parties involved and in late 2010 (ish) the hall was torn down and a new one built...

    The new hall was in some ways nicer but in others not so much. The old hall had a beautiful theater style auditorium, with fixed folding seats, hard wired mikes on the back of the seats and a sloping floor that allowed an unobstructed view by. The seats were arranged in a half circle and was classy and beautiful.

    The new hall was typical cookie cutter box. The seats were on a level floor and the rbc intended to use the god awful movable chairs. That was a mile to far and the local brothers, lead by an apostate that you may know, refused and bought the old style fixed chairs (a small victory but a victory non the less).

    What galls the hell out of me, no matter how hard i try to forget it, is what happened at the end of the build. The rbc’s work complete the hall was dedicated yadd yadda.... and then the shoe dropped. In order to get the branch to approve the money for the hall the “local building committee” (a group of local elders representing the 3 local congregations) had made a “loan application” to the branch. That local committee had signed over the land that brother smith donated to the US branch.

    In one fell swoop the kh went from being a building totally debt free on land owned by the local congregation to million dollar building owned wholly and totally by the US branch of JW’s, to do with as they pleased. As a final kick in the ass, the branch “forgave” the debit that the congregations incurred to build this new piece of crap hall... of course in “forgiving” the debit they simply asked that congregation continue to make payments on the new piece of crap hall, in the same amount, forever.

    A hall the branch owns.

    Its infuriating to me, even now today as i type this after all the time thats passed, to think that the land that brother smith donated and the hall that once stood there is gone, owned lock stock and barrel by a goddam cult, while the park and pond next door still bears his name is owned, just as he intended, by the community and is enjoyed by all.

  • done4good


    Appreciate the story. It really helps people understand the impact of the WTS shamelessly taking properties that never belonged to them in the first place. This in of itself, is very telling.

    As for the OP, while this construction stoppage and money grab took place years after I left, I would agree it is one of more significant happenings to the WTS, (in a decade with many changes that already make the religion look unrecognizable to me).

    When I first learned of the new hall design (there are almost none being built); the money grab (happened at about the same time); and the RBC disband, the pattern I immediately saw from afar was this was all related. There were money problems, no growth, and the organization needed to obfuscate those facts. The new design, the "apprenticeship" plans (remember those?), and the LDC were all a smokescreen for bigger problems afoot.

    Since then, many congregations (including the one I was a member of from the late '70s through mid '90s) have dissolved, meetings are barely attended, (according to a close friend I have that still attends for family reasons), and the JWs I know (I have one on my staff) could pretty much care less about JW stuff and are just biding their time.


  • WingCommander

    @ Morpheus:

    Damn! That is one helluva an experience! What a bunch of crooks!!!!!!

  • sir82

    It remains a mystery to me.

    In early 2015 there was indeed a dog-n-pony show complete with branch representatives & a PowerPoint presentation for most, if not all, BOEs in the USA. There were elaborate, complex, and well-researched plans to embark on a campaign of construction the likes of which JW-world had never seen. Hundreds or even thousands of new Kingdom Halls were needed, jump on the bandwagon, boys, the chariot is speeding up!

    Then, nothing.

    A few months later, Lett gives a rubber-faced performance on JW broadcasting about how "expenses are exceeding income", and still, construction-wise...nothing.

    Two years on....nothing.

    What the hell happened?

    It wasn't just a "oh, we think we need a lot of new Kingdom Halls, we'll be planning for this soon." No, they had invested maybe a decade in researching, planning, prepping, the plans were laid out, the dog-n-pony show was sent out to thousands of locations in the US (at considerable travel expense, and you know how the WTS hates to spend money) to rally the troops, get everyone on board, and.....


  • _Morpheus

    Thank you done4good and wing, i wish it wernt true but every word and then some is... the problem is my former kh wasnt at all unique. Melano park really hit home for me when i heard about it because its virtually identical. Its happening all over the US and congregations seem unable to contest it. Its evil as hell and a pure money grab. Texas had an example where the congregation fought back i think.. but when the branch can simply df those that oppose them its a lost cause

  • slimboyfat

    Is there anything tangible left from these plans? Letters, videos, documents?

  • Magnum

    _Morpheus, I feel your pain and anger! That infuriates me, too.


    sir82, it is mysterious. I'd love to have been and to be a fly on the wall up there and know what all really happened and what the real situation is.


    done4good: "When I first learned of the new hall design (there are almost none being built); the money grab (happened at ab"out the same time); and the RBC disband, the pattern I immediately saw from afar was this was all related. There were money problems, no growth, and the organization needed to obfuscate those facts. The new design, the "apprenticeship" plans (remember those?), and the LDC were all a smokescreen for bigger problems afoot."

    I hope that it is the case.


    slimboyfat: "Is there anything tangible left from these plans? Letters, videos, documents?"

    I second/repeat that question.

  • darkspilver

    Hey _Morpheus - thanks for the account, skills-wise I think the RBC find building a new KH much easier (ie quicker) than a major refurbishment / extension

    BTW I found the KH in less than 2 minutes, confirmed it with a wikipedia page

    The Google StreetView - dated June 2008 - goes right up and into the car park area, but shows it as literally a flat building site with diggers - so it looks like the exisitng KH had just been demolished at that point?

    More recent StreetView from 2012 shows a brand new KH.

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