Another reason Watchtower may be hurting financially
Congregations are giving WAY more than at any other time.
Sale of Brooklyn has given them WAY more than they have EVER had.
EXPENSES ARE WAY WAY WAY DOWN.
They are not hurting for money.
I agree with what you say in addition to the few posters above you who cite lack of education/low paying jobs/shunning doctrine/loss of people as contributing factors in the religion 'hurting for money'.
Even though the religion has made a vast fortune in selling off real estate, what you said about them losing their regular contributors is true and cannot be underestimated.
The elderly in the religion who are fast dying off are the ones who regularly contributed. This demographic will never be seen again. The golden goose will be gone. More importantly, the younger people after them will never see the JW religion in the reverent light that they do.
These elderly retired in a healthy economy and had much disposable income to throw around. And throw it around they did! They gave money to useless Kingdom Hall renovations; to deadbeat pioneers I'd never give a dime too and gave those green handshakes to COs.
They also, sadly, will be missed because they were sound of mind and stable people. Contrast that with the poor caliber of individuals who came in later years. This is not the JW religion of decades ago! That is gone with the wind.
The WTBTS will never have the YUGE Real Estate sale that they recently enjoyed. It's over. Now they must become an electronic religion for the most part. They have to try and make their profits last, which they can do, because they have tax free labor, and they can consolidate more congregations. Heck, they could even command Dubs to go back to meeting in homes! They only want those who obey, those who are the most gullible.
Also, it's a woman's religion now. There's no patriarchy like in the days of CTR and Boozerfraud. Those days are also gone. Look at the men who are "in charge." Is there one manly man on the GB??? LOL!!! No.... Are their sychophants manly, forthright individuals who do what's right no matter what? Again, LOL!!!!!
Have you seen the men on JW Broadcasting??? A bunch of pansies... The man with the most testosterone is Caleb's father...
At best, I see young, pseudo manly Elders and MS's who's hot wives probably tell them how to tie their shoes, and to make sure and aim for the toilet when going pee-pee. Are they going to lose their hot wives and try and land a real-deal, equal rights, equal pay, college educated worldly woman? Let me reiterate....LOL!!!!! NOoooooo!!! LOL!!!!
The cult can go on in another form, but it's prime season is gone. The old women will morn their husbands, and head-bob as the GB Helpers take over when the GB head for Hale-Bop..
In conversation a brother told me that a nearby congregation has "gone bust" recently, which was news to me. It struck me that he used those exact words. "Gone bust" didn't exactly sound like theocratic language. I asked him what happened, but he caught himself, and toned down what he was saying. He said a nearby congregation sold their hall for some reason and are meeting in a neighbouring KH instead. I don't know if that was a purely local situation or part of a wider trend. I'm not even sure if he meant that the original congregation still exists or whether it was combined with the other congregation.
They started out with the goal of providing low cost Bibles so that everyone could have one and it turned into this big machine that has taken on a life of it's own and needs more and more money to keep it alive. If they'd have stuck to printing bibles and the occasional bible study aid,t hey wouldn't be having the financial problems that Steven Lett admitted to (not enough money coming in vs. the money going out).
They say they model themselves after the early Christians but whoever heard of anyone in bible times, living by the thousands together in luxury resort like accommodations, producing goods to distribute and sell. When I was at Bethel, most of the people working there were "support staff" working to feed and clean up after the factory workers and the workers who were renovating the buildings. It was a endless cycle of purchasing, properties needed to house the volunteers that were brought in to renovate and maintain those same building and to house the support staff brought in to clean up after them. How did printing Bibles get so complicated?
There's over 8 million JW's world wide. If each gave $1 per month, the Watchtower Society would have 8 million dollars per month ($96 Million per year) to use to spread the word. Between all the willing volunteers they alread have have and the availability of today's (practically free) social media (Internet, Youtube, Instagram,facebook etc), if they are unable to get the message out there for $ 96 million per year, there's something wrong.
The WTS's recent real estate sales will hold the organization financially for a few years, will see where it stands 10 years from now.
The greater number of the gullible, exploited and weak minded is cooling off for this religious organization.
On a side note some occurrences which are depleting the enthusiasm has to do to the fact that the doctrines of the WTS which held it for so many decades have eroded overtime to their viability, add in the public exposure the WTS. is getting on places like the inter-net and the general public as well devoted JWS are Awakening toward "The Truth".
For a century, thousands of JW marched on Court Street in Colombia Heights, 24/7, wt winning every Court battle by the way. Now, wt changed their position, they moved away from Court Street in downtown Brooklyn and are at Warwick. Will wt, in the end game, be defeated for financial reason, etc., or will wt win the final war?
Their cult position on child abuse reminds me of the white slave owner in the Southern US about 200 hundred years ago. They argued that the Bible said slavery was ok and that the Africans were also cursed, according to their understanding of the book of Genesis. The rest of the world became more moral then the Bible and slavery was out lawed in one place after another.
The cult will hold to their postition on child abuse and because of this will hopefully be sued out of existence going the way of the Southern US slave owners.
If the WTS is going to implode its going to a be gradual event.
The WTS has devised a way to sustain itself financially ie. limiting its literature printing operations
With the amount of money and infrastructure the WTS has builtup recently, I see the organization sustaining itself for years perhaps decades into the future. ........sorry if that depresses anyone
Good OP, persuasively argued.
The "newer" property cash cow for JW organization is selling kingdom halls and assembly halls. Every time a property is sold, JW organization benefits. It has already begun the process of amalgamating congregations where possible so that in higher population density areas more congregations share the same hall - after the other local kingdom halls were sold off.
I'd say that, on average, JWs now need to travel a greater distance to get to their assigned congregations. Even here in lower-population-density New Zealand, several rural kingdom halls have been sold and the remaining JWs in those regions now have to travel further to get to their newly assigned congregations. In the lower North Island alone, I know of at least three kingdom halls that have been sold: Taihape, Ohakune and Shannon.
Remember the days when JWs boasted about having kingdom halls in most localities? Long gone.