Yes, I am Aussie. Not related to "Dorothy."
I am a convert and still attending meetings at this point in time (depending upon how my week is going.)
I agree with what SAHS wrote - I don't think I could have written that any better.
I'm just going to write about some of the financial issues for now. I'll write about other questions and doubts in a separate post.
When I first started attending assemblies, our congregation used to hold these in rented school halls. So I figured that some of the contributions would go to paying for the use of the rented hall for the weekend. So I would make a small contribution on these occasions.
Later on, the Assembly Hall was built. I continued to make small contributions whenever I attended. Then the Assembly Hall was paid off. I felt then that the amount needed for donations should go down, technically speaking from a financial point of view. Instead, the opposite happened and the amount required to cover the cost of each assembly went up. No explanation was given. From that point on, I stopped donating.
I also wondered why it was that each assembly started off with a deficit. So I started to track the finances for the circuit as I went to each assembly. There seemed to be a pattern and I wondered if our circuit was struggling financially. To test out this theory, I started attending assemblies in a different part of the circuit and tracking their finances. But I noticed the same pattern, each assembly started off with a deficit.
Another point that I wondered about was the Annual General Meeting report from the Watchtower Society. Whenever I read an Annual General Meeting report from any other corporation, it always contains the financial status and a breakdown of their figures. The first time I read the Annual General Meeting information in the Watchtower magazine, I wondered how they would forget to include the financial information. So I asked one of the brothers about the matter, and was told that "I don't need to worry about such things because the faithful and discreet slave handle important matters like that." (Is that so?)
When I learnt that the Watchtower Society was getting involved in hedge fund investment, the thought that went through my mind was: "Skating on thin ice here. Dangerous game - hedge fund investing." There are high returns in investment BUT there are high risks involved as well. There isn't very much margin for error. I also do not understand how it is possible for an organisation to retain a non-profit, tax-exempt status and yet at the same time, be involved in hedge fund investment.
I'll write about other doubts and questions as time permits.