Off hand Bethelites don't expect donations from jws they take on the official tours. If you know them as a friend from your congregation or relative you usually ante up money already knowing how tight things are financially. I lived 30 miles from Walkill and had Bethelites over the weekend so they could get away from the instituitional atmosphere and eat the food they liked. I would go shopping with them and we would pick out what we would cook that evening. Maybe a movie video or some other entertainment. They usually helped pay for some of the food because I was a single regular pioneer. Popcorn too.
Question about visiting bethel ... akward moment at the end
“steve2”: “I do not think it unreasonable for visitors who accept lunch invitations to offer something.”
Well, the headquarters locations have always been receiving money funnelled from all over the world, including dirt-poor African, Asian, and South-American countries. And then there are the cumulative donations from publishers into all the different contribution boxes, including the “worldwide work” fund.
Also, don’t forget that all those donations are TAX-FREE, and the Bethel labourers practically work under a SLAVE LABOUR arrangement (a vow of poverty, similar to the Catholic nuns). As well, much of the food served at those meals, including the lunch, has already been made available through raising, slaughtering, and processing of THEIR OWN homegrown cattle, pork, etc. (also operated under the same slave labour arrangement).
So, when you think of it, certainly the Bethel headquarter locations can at least afford to offer a free lunch to the odd guest – without too much undue financial hardship. As for the Bethel drones – I mean workers – well, they should rightly be putting their palms up toward their billion-dollar enterprise of which they call their “mother organization.”
SAHS, you make really good points about organizational wealth. It's like any big corporation: Wealth seldom trickles down to the lowly workers.
Tipping is just my thing regardless. Hey, two meals were provided. People would think nothing about giving some money elsewhere.
People shouldn't be so thoughtless about the individual staffer who took the time to host their visit. The gesture is for him, not the organization's coffers.
I had many behind the scenes tours...I guess I knew some "heavy" brothers and sisters. Even some posters on this board find it hard to believe that a single regular pioneer sister got that "privilege." But I have been in the room where the GB meets every Wednesday several times, seen the step by step process of the editorial process, eaten meals in the rooms of Bethelites, had a scotch or two with many, been up on the roofs, fed the cattle at WT Farm 2 and petted the horses, picnicked there on a Saturday often, toured behind the scenes of the subscription department and saw the process, saw how sisters used multiple language typewriters, worked in the strawberry and vegetable patches, went to the special musical/etc programs called Family Night.
Part of this happened because my family had been jws since 1920...had known many members of the Board of Directors (the GB before 1971) and after 1971. I didn't see what the big deal was, no holy spirit shooting out of their head or hands. Even Henschel when asked what was coming up for Jehovah's people by a rank and file brother was told, "Brother, I know when you do when the new magazines are dropped on my desk in my room."
Never paid a penny to them except for the scotch for one couple.
When I was in my teens I remember the excitement when the worldwide number of jws passed 1 million. Bethel homes were small then, more intimate. I lived in area near the farm so there were 30 Bethelites out of 75 publishers. NYC was different, larger Bethel, more congregations.
I have seen the coldness grow and grow since those days. The isolation of the rank and file from the GB or other Bethel speakers.
I was no ring kisser ever. But many of the older jws really made some sacrifices that jws today would never consider or fake their way through. My grandmother told me how they went out in field service all day on Sunday and then gathered for the WT study in evening at the Oddfellows Hall (look that up).
I left in 2001 and have never been back to a KH, assembly, or convention. What I learn about changes in the WTS are from comments here or WT publications. What I have noticed is that less and less jws care about the lives of the people out there in their territory. Just themselves, close jw relatives,. In their minds many see themselves talking to the walking dead.