I’ve been out 13 years now (wow that’s gone quickly), my basic summary of where the finance issues are...
1. It’s cult not supported by any deity, but by donation
2. Literature and printing is financially no longer viable, even for businesses that charge for their product. Printed literature and global distribution is far too expensive now. Everything is goingg and will go online.
3. The Watchtower had invested heavily in the stock market, the 2008 crash hurt them and they halted expansion/projects soon after and started selling property.
4. Court cases for child rape have become costly, with courts finding that the Watchtower itself is guilty of endangering children to known abusers after hearing of incidents and not acting.
5. Events such as Russia’s government seizing all JW property.
6. JW’s have become financially challenged, largely due to WT doctrine on education and careers. Unlike previous JW generations, they clearly don’t donate as they used to. Assemblies were once moneymakers, with J.w’s forced to buy WT meals with WT tokens/credit. They would pay a fortune for WT approved car parks, despite the huge arena venues already having ‘free’ car parking as part of their venue hire cost.
7. Watchtower tried to scam congregations into borrowing and paying back credit on interest. My family worked on the RBC purchasing team. Everything ordered was SO expensive for a new hall or refurbishment. You couldn’t just go and buy a mic cable, it had to be from a JW catalogue from specific suppliers with a marked up price in the WT price list. The sound equipment and furniture was ridiculously expensive and for no reason......seemingly. The money was borrowed from HQ and paid back with interest. This became a mo they giving scheme from every congregation, with all finances handed over to WT. It was decades of KH savings taken overnight. Amounts of money that would go a long way in local finances, but no distance in international publishing.
Teh WT decided to sell the KH’s and squash several congs back into one hall, selling off the new halls of the 90’s, 00’s. This pissed off JW’s a lot. All of this was short term thinking, because once you take all the local assets, sell the halls and make the congs share like they did in the 80’s..... it’s hard to argue you NEED money or that ?God is blessing your activity.
8. The WT doctrine promises, still appeal. But not to western developed ‘lands’. JW expansion is limited and minimal growth is taking place in impoverished lands. The WT invests little time, attention or finance in these regions of the world, because they get little back.
9. If you had to propose a business/financial strategy for the future of WT, what would you do? What could you do? They are boxed in by doctrine and decades old arguments such as “we will know when we lose gods approval as we will need to beg for money...”
They have justified making literature free by lying. They said it was to fulfill scripture “come take life’s water free...” but in reality it was for tax and charity status reasons. They can’t reverse that.
i see maybe a minimal monthly financial donation ....aka....subscription for online access coming. The printing presses will scream to a halt soon enough.
But will the WT financially survive?....... let’s see. I think not.