I will take up sbf's challenge.
I can not believe it. I have hope for the downfall of the borg.
I have read here that those that are still in the borg don't talk about the Australian Royal Commission. Well that is not the case in my wife's congregation. Not only that, my wife actually has viewed all the proceedings. I don't know the details of what they discuss when they go out on field service, but I suspect that there they talk more openly.
Linked to the discussions they have, there is an elderly sister in my wife's congregation, that lives not far from us, that my wife sometimes picks up and drives to meetings. Through her life living in a number of Australian congregations following her husband around (now deceased). She told my wife that Jehovah is simply not "with" some of those congregations. This is a lady in her 80's that does not have access to the internet, and webstes such as these. Her words have had an effect on how my wife views Watchtower. Unfortunately her faith has not been broken yet, but I can detect an internal struggle.
Our local Kingdom Hall is set on a slip road to an arterial highway. There is a Pentecostal Church further up the slip road, but otherwise the area is taken up by light industry (small factories, warehouses etc). The nearest residential plots are a street back. I guess when it came to build a Kingdom Hall, it was cheap land.
Recently, a friend of mine in the commercial real estate business has been asked to provide some advice on that kingdom hall. In particular, advice on its potential as commercial real estate. My friend explained it is worth virtually nothing as a meeting hall as there are plenty of those around and they don't generate much income. It has no value as a retail outlet either, given its location. However, its location as a warehouse and storage facility is huge, especially given the existing carpark and fairly secure fencing around it. It is set on a large block of land.
I gather someone is probing the market. My friend did not say who. At the moment two congregations operate from that Kingdom Hall, but the numbers that attend my wife's have dropped to around 30 to 40. I can see them combining the congregations with others nearby. There are 2 that are within 20 mins drive, and it would make sense for them to rationalise. Or at least it would make sense if Watchtower is nothing more than a publishing and real estate business.
There you go. One of those stories is true. The other is completely false.