Kingdumb Halls...crying poor. Are they really?

by kwintestal 18 Replies latest jw friends

  • kwintestal

    For the last 2 1/2 years of my JW experience, the KH was ALWAYS saying how they had no money to pay the bills. They started holding "Dollar Days" at the meetings to get donations (the idea was everyone brought a dollar a meeting on top of their normal donation).

    Finances reportedly got so bad that they had to decide to buy oil for the furnace, or plow the driveway one winter. They opted for the oil and left the driveway icey.

    The PO was in charge of finances, and after every report, stated the need for increased donations, mind you the donations shouldn't come from what a person normally donates to the WTS, and the KH regular donation to the society always went on time (what a fine example). He also had a countdown every report of how long left was on the mortgage..."Only 2 more years folks!"

    Are all KH's this poor? How can the WTS allow a KH to get this poor that they can't even afford to plow out the driveway? Does the WTS have a policy AGAINST refinancing KH? Obviously the hall had income problems, so a reduced mortgage payment would have been an easy answer considering they owned more then 90% of the property.


  • Will Power
    Will Power

    ooh, this is too funny. I've just been wondering about how much gets stuffed into the contribution box each week.

    as a wife who must manage the family checkbook, would it be out of line to ask how much gets donated? or could I expect the usual answer - its none of my business?

  • Scully

    Going back to when we left, almost 10 years ago, we had noticed more and more that money was a big issue. They were always asking for money for something. In 1984, the congregation we were in did some renovations to the exterior of the KH, and asked for donations for that. In 1985/86 they did more extensive renovations to the interior of the KH and needed money for that... even though they miscalculated the cost of the first renovation by about 25% and needed the congregation to pick up the tab for their mistake. What made me sick was the way they just so flippantly said that when they split the cost among the publishers, it "only" came to $300 per publisher. I was completely offended that they basically announced that each publisher owed them that money. I wrote a letter (anonymously) to the body of elders about how I felt. We also did not put one thin dime in the contribution boxes after that.

    It seemed like every congregation we've ever belonged to has had financial problems since the Kingdom Hall Building Fund was implemented in the early 80s. Every month, they were making announcements to support the congregation's expenses... and the circuit's expenses... and the CO's expenses.... it never ended. The more they begged for money, the more we were resolved not to put money in the contribution boxes.

    It only got worse in the 90s when the Voluntary Donation Arrangement was implemented. People were expected to Donate? when they picked up literature at the KH, and then collect Donations? from the public in Field Service? and automatically turn them over to the WTS. It hasn't worked out that way, and congregations are apparently still billed for their literature and magazine supplies. You can bet that the WTS gets their money, and their mortgage payments. Nothing quite like being able to tell a congregation that they are in debt to Jehovah, eh?? That's one bill you don't want to ever go into collections for....

    Love, Scully

  • foreword

    I think the witnesses are poor in general. Not many have high paying jobs. It's pretty appauling to see them request money from these poor people, always making them feel like if they don't do enough. Sad really. It is true that the WT does not go without it's money.

    I was a witness for 5 years, and I don't think I gave them more than a hundred bucks in all. I know I'm cheap.....LOL.

    Inside, my argument was always that God says...."the money is mine".

    Secondly, using the bible to argue my point......When Solomon became king, did he have to beg for money?, geez no, his enemies would call him up to give donations, and he became one of the wealthiest man, with god's help. So, why don't people just throw money at the WT? Hint, hint.

  • hillbilly

    It's a combination of many factors... those building cost a lot more than people think......and the "donation" system is more "freewill" than "pledges"

    The Average JW hears phrases like "non-profit" and then gets a little "widows mite" theology in the same day he gets a little confused. Then they bad bad mouth churches for having structured 'donations'. Go figure, the average JW figures that his $2 bucks or whatever will go a long way.

    Running a building for anyones orginization costs bucks. If you joined a conservation and shooting club you would be asked for membership dues.. and any guests would pay for services rendered.. why? Land, equipment, taxes insurance costs all must be met... and at years end after all is paid out not much remains in the pot. Even though the board or the voting members dont take a "profit" you have to pull in more than you spend on legit costs of business.

    In my opinion there would not be anything wrong with asking for "pledges"... it would save many problems.... and it's a lot less tacky than the guilt ridden pan-handling the poor Accounts servant has to do to meet monthly expenses.

    Then, Brooklyn gets their cut... everymonth...... before they got so rabid about a regular cut a congregation would often carry a reserve...

    The average JW doesnt see the "Kingdom Hall" in that light. He is convienced "God" will take care of things. Plus many JW's are on a tight budget at home... then MANY JW's are just plain CHEAP. Or figure the family with the new Suburban or nicer house has TONS of cash and will carry the ball.

    I really got tired of panhandling the electric bill every month while I was on accounts 20 years ago... I can't imagine how that job goes now... Glad I am out.


  • ozziepost


    Some clarification:

    • By KH I take it you mean "congregations"
    • POs have accounts in their portfolios of responsibilty but they do not handle nor are in charge of accounts.
    • Title for a KH is held by a separate corporation - not the WTS
    • Congregations are responsible for their own financing.
    • Given that donations/contributions in most congregations are poor, it's no wonder they were "encouraging" the congregation to donate!

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers, Ozzie

  • hillbilly

    Ozzie.... i think we "know" what he means, dear fellow. Techincalities aside, they run a stupid fiscal policy over at the "Kingdom Hall", the locals have little help or control over Brooklyn and Brooklyn whorish ways put the bite on all members. Period.

    All because they try to make their financial collection methods look "more Christ-like" than "money- grubbing" "false- religion (tm).

    Old Joe was right... (his) Religion is a snare and a racket!


  • JT

    former jw often point to fine halls as examples that their is money, in my exp that is not the case for most

    the wt has been very clear in their instructions to elders bodies

    NO WT LIT MONEY can be used to cover local needs-

    BUT IF THE WT LIT COMES UP SHORT they are instructed to take money from LOCAL MONEY and pay the wt their money

    and THIS IS why so many jw are always hearing WE ARE IN THE RED!!!!!!!

    WT HAS GOTTEN THEIR MONEY , now you may not have no toilet paper to whip your butt , but the wt will get paid for their useless books

    you got to love it-

    considerthis folks, the wt does not build Halls, there is no location anywhere where the wt has said

    These people need a center of pure worship we will cut a ck for $300,000 and send to the local jw to build a little Hall-

    o no, unless the local bro can show they can PAY BACK - regardless of the fact that they are sitting in the heat, sitting on wooden benches and no air condition in 125 degree weather and sister old has to walk 20 miles to the thatch roof hut for the sunday wt, --

    the wt ain't coughing up no cash!!!!!!!!!

  • joenobody

    I never had a problem with the call to meet the congregation's needs as far as Kingdom Hall upkeep etc. After all, if you are going to be part of a community and using the facilities, you should be supporting them.

    HOWEVER, I did have a problem with 2 things:

    1 - There would be the cry from the platform that we were in the red and needed to make up a deficit, yet as mentioned previously, the donation to the Society ALWAYS went regardless of whether there was money or not. Huh? Same deal at the assemblies with regard to paying the WTS $10K or some stupid number and then announcing on Sunday at noon there was a shortfall.

    2 - The fact that the WTS took over ownership of the Kingdom Hall's, and that they charged interest to the local halls on the loans from the Building Fund when in fact that friggin' money came from donations in the first place. That to me was the sign things were a major scam. It was so far removed from the original model Russell set up of autonomous congregations.

  • blondie

    Not all congregations are that poor, kwin.

    Monies are handled this way now.

    Any money put in the WorldWideWork Box goes directly to the WTS, nothing should be siphoned off to the congregation. An announcement was put in the KM recently reminding them of this. So even though they can't pay the heat bill, all this money goes to the WTS.

    Second, any money put in for the general KH expenses is used this way:

    If loan outstanding to WTS for remodel/new building, the monthly payment goes to them first (some congregations try to juggle this but it puts them in danger of having the building repossessed and extreme measure that I have only seen threatened but heard executed once)

    Then, pay any utilities, priority set by the PO. In winter, heat would prevail; in summer, electricity/AC would be a priority; then water and phone.

    There may be outstanding personal loans to individual members, these can be put on permanent hold; I've see it done in some "poor" KHs.

    Some congregations sharing a building with another congregation put in a set amount every month into a maintenance fund and the loan and utilities are paid out of this by one of the MS handling accounts. I have seen certain congregations get behind on this to the consternation and bad feeling of the other congregation.

    I have been in several congregations, some had no problem with money flow and others were squeaking by every month. The rule in this conservative area is no specific mention of being behind, but the accounts servant would put a little more emphasis on reading that there was a "deficit" in spending when making his report.

    We saw some brothers wait until the congregation was in dire straits and then "come to the rescue" with a big donation. The truth behind the situation was that these people had not donated anything for 9 months and then suddently took their accumulated 9 months' worth of donations and bailed out the congregation. Of course, the elders were very grateful and we saw these brothers advanced quickly along the MS/elder/special elder line.


    BTW in this area of the US, the POs do control what gets paid. I suppose they could delegate but I have never seen it.

    Up until recently, the congregations were able to get financing through the WTS. I haven't been attending for a couple of years so it might have changed. So they are still paying to the WTS because these loans are as far as 15 years out.

    The KHS are not owned by the WTS. The congregation who holds the territory the KH sits in does through a nonprofit corporation made up of 3 elders from that congregation, usually the service committee, PO, Secretary, Field Service Overseer. The WTS ownership exists only if they hold a loan outstanding (just as a bank would). If the building is paid for, the WTS would take ownership as the parent nonprofit corporation if that congregation were dissolved. (Any other congregations sharing the building only have "ownership" in theory as the original congregation cooperates, though not obligated legally.)

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