US kingdom halls will be left with just $5,000 plus funds to cover regular monthly expenses once Watchtower has completed its raid
US kingdom halls will be left with just $5,000 plus funds to cover regular monthly expenses once Watchtower has completed its raid

At the beginning of May, congregations all over the world were told of a new “Kingdom Hall and Assembly Hall construction program” that was coming into operation.

Many Witnesses have welcomed the new arrangement, assuming it means congregations indebted to the organization for their construction costs now have their debts waived.

In reality, however, the new arrangement means all congregations are permanently indebted to the organization, and are committed to paying at least the amount of any monthly installment they were already paying… indefinitely.

This has led to the new measures being dubbed “stealth-tithing” by some, and with good reason. Rather than directly committing individuals to pledging a fixed monthly sum, Watchtower is cleverly doing this at a congregation level, leaving the elders the unpleasant task of guilt-tripping the congregation if they aren’t donating enough to honor their pledge.

Even so, the new arrangement left many questions, and Watchtower was forced to issue a letter dated May 2nd notifying elders that further direction would be given on the matter. That letter has now become available, and it brings the amazing scope of Watchtower’s cunning smash-and-grab into sharp focus.

Dated May 12th to all congregations in the United States Branch Territory, the letter instructs congregations in the US to keep on their accounts three months’ worth of utility, supplies and servicing expenses, along with a maximum cash reserve of $5,000 per kingdom hall (to be split between however many congregations share a kingdom hall).

A PDF scan of the letter is temporarily available by clicking here

Elders are to contact anyone in the congregation with promissory notes and find out, without coercion (to their credit), whether they want their money returned. The aim is to find out what money truly belongs to the congregation (and can thus be sent on to Watchtower) and what money is actually tied up with individuals.

Once such matters have been resolved, a “one-time donation of surplus funds” is to be made to the branch office of everything apart from the three months’ worth of operating expenses (including pledges to various assistance arrangements, i.e. Kingdom Hall Assistance, Traveling Overseer Assistance), and the permitted $5,000 reserve.

A kingdom hall build in Versailles Kentucky - will Watchtower come to the rescue on the next rainy day?
A kingdom hall build in Versailles Kentucky – will Watchtower come to the rescue on the next rainy day?

As you can imagine, this is likely to result in a windfall for Watchtower, but it is a stunt they can pull only once.

As with the sale of the Brooklyn portfolio at over a billion dollars, once Watchtower has completed its congregation smash-and-grab they cannot do the same thing again in the future.

Once all the family jewels have been cashed in at the local pawn shop, they cannot be replaced.

Publishers who have donated their hard-earned money to ensure the financial autonomy of their local kingdom halls will now be expecting Watchtower to deliver on its end of the bargain, and make sure their congregation has all its construction and heavy maintenance needs met promptly by the branch office.

So far Watchtower has shown through its unprecedented spate of branch closures, against a backdrop of increasing investment in its New York operational hub, a propensity to prioritize the needs of the leadership over those of their far-flung adherents.

If, as feared, Watchtower is running out of cash and wants the money as a financial quick-fix to ease its woes, they will not find publishers to be quite so sympathetic the next time they come to the congregations cap in hand – especially if their roofs are leaking or their walls are subsiding, the congregation coffers are empty, and nothing is being done.








Further reading…

60 thoughts on ““You can keep $5,000 plus expenses, send the rest to us” – Watchtower completes stealth-tithing smash-and-grab

  • May 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    I don’t think everybody’s going to like this arrangement. For example: do they honestly believe that a congregation that just sold their KH for $500,000 is going to happily give them a check for $494,000? Most JW’s will tow the party line in many things, but not when it directly involves THEIR money.

  • May 29, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    My wife’s parents, brother and sister-in-law are JW’s. Myself and my wife are not. I work 70 hours a week to support myself and my ill wife. My JW in-laws work part time because of pioneering requirements and ministerial services required by the org. I have to subsidize their lives with between 2 and 4 thousand dollars a month or they will be living on the streets. Part of this money is given to the watchtower org. and I am sick of it. Where is the charity from the org. for these brothers and sisters of over 40 years??? Where is all of that money going???

    • June 23, 2014 at 4:56 am

      how on earth did you become responsible to support these people?
      this sort of preaching wasnt done or spoken of, in jesus time to begin with ,
      so one of those part time jobs need to be made into full time job id say!
      is there any way for you to cut back on work and spend more time with your own family? thats so not fair to you, why should you use all your precious time working?

      I firmly believe in the U.S. some young people will go into the ‘pioneer’ work as an excuse to be lazy, not hold down a job and free load from their parents as long as possible. and sadly these young people have no futures and little if any knowledge on how to support themselves.

  • June 25, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I now see this organization for exactly what it is. Although I don’t fall for the “they’re the antichrist” stuff, as that would require any of that storybook to be real, I don’t think they’re up to any good. The members, most of them, are NOT aware of this, and are sadly sincere. There are no subliminal images, as people are psychologically programmed to see faces in things. That’s silly. But, they do have a right to be angry for being taken and controlled for all those years.

  • October 15, 2015 at 12:16 am

    I am soooo glad im far far far away from this mess !!!

    What i see is greed…they are building golden palaces for the GB…on the backs of all the worker slaves…
    And when they are done with them…they throw them into the streets with ner a penny to their names
    Greed greed greed all in the name of religion

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  • April 15, 2017 at 1:18 am

    Speaking strictly as an observer of the Watchtower organisation I continue to be fascinated by the nature of this and other ‘religious’ organisations who disseminate their version of reality to people of conviction.
    I was brought up by Christian parents who encouraged me to attend church but wanted me to develop my own attitude to what should surely be a loving and supportive environment. I consider myself probably fortunate that I was never pressured to adhere to a dogmatic doctrine that discouraged freedom of thought or enquiry.
    From what has already been, and is currently being perpetrated in the name of religion across the globe I think the world would be a better place if we could learn to love one another and live without it.

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