On Sunday we reported on how the 2016 annual meeting was less than thrilling compared to previous years. Witnesses have grown accustomed to these events being used to unveil new publications, announce momentous organizational changes, or reveal “new light” on Bible verses.
But it seems there was something we overlooked, which has since been spotted by the eagle-eyed folks over on the Ex-JW Reddit page. Apparently the new “Sing Out Joyfully” to Jehovah songbook contains more than just praise to Jehovah. It also has a not-so-subtle reminder for Witnesses to dig deep into their pockets and donate.
When I first saw the thread discussing this, I assumed they were referring to the inside cover of the book, with its reminder to visit JW.org to make a donation… but I was mistaken.
It seems the Governing Body has found an even more imaginative way to nudge Witnesses toward the kingdom hall contribution boxes. The words of one of the songs have been changed so that instead saying, “Take my voice and let it sing, Praises always to the King,” the same line now reads, “Take my silver and my gold. Nothing, Lord, would I withhold.”
As has already been noted on this website, the Governing Body’s increased begging for funds has not gone unnoticed, and Witnesses would do well to ask whether such methods are really necessary if the organization truly has God’s backing.
Changing lyrics in songbooks, imposing stealth tithing on congregations and overtly asking for donations on JW Broadcasting to plug income/expenditure shortfalls is certainly a world away from the traditional approach to donations established by Charles Taze Russell, who vowed that his magazine would “never beg nor petition men for support.” (The video below explores Russell’s attitude toward money in more detail.)
Is this latest surreptitious tactic further evidence of growing financial desperation in bethel corridors, or is it perfectly normal for the Almighty Creator of the cosmos to use his organization to ask for money? You decide!