The Watchtower Money Machine

Follow the money…I’ve always maintained that most organized religion is about money or power or both. The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society makes a huge deal about the fact that they don’t pass a collection plate around and then casts stones at other churches for doing it.

That begs the question: If money isn’t a motive for the worldwide distribution of books, magazines and pamphlets and there is definitely a cost incurred over and above the amount contributed for these “aids” why in the world wouldn’t the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society save themselves arguably a running ton of money and place all of their publications as freely accessible online in .pdf format?

That would allow anyone anywhere (even in countries that don’t allow the Watchtower materials) to access their publications online and to utilize the electronic method of media transfer to print off articles in their own language!I was always taught that the money we received at the door for publications placed i.e. Watchtower & Awake magazines, books, and bibles only went to defray the cost of printing.

The sad truth is that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society makes huge sums of money from the “sale” and distribution of these “aids”. Each congregation has a standing order for inventory each and every single month. Regardless of whether donation money is collected at the door or these “aids” are given for free to the householder, the publishers still are required to donate enough money for the literature to cover the “cost”. If they don’t then guess what? The congregation takes up the slack and sends a direct contribution for their literature consumption to the mother ship in Brooklyn, NY using guidelines for contribution based upon consumption.

Randall Watters (a former Bethelite) wrote two very remarkable pieces on this very subject and you can access the article regarding their money making practices prior to 1990 (Watchtower Money I) and another article for post 1990 activities (Watchtower Money II). Randall is a little more cynical about religion than I am. However he is very knowledgeable on this subject having first hand experience in the literature department at Bethel and he is an excellent writer.

I would also like to note that the “Worldwide Kingdom Hall Building Fund” is nothing but a sham. The money collected in these building fund boxes of the Kingdom Halls is funneled back to the mother ship. One would expect that the money would be freely given to those congregations needing to build new Kingdom Halls. That is not the case. The money is lent out to these congregations at various amounts of interest. I was made privy to this when we built a Hall back in the early 80’s in Jackson, MS. The society lent the congregation the money to build it at a whopping 8% interest!

The following scripture comes to mind:

Exodus 22:25 “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him.”

I’m going to take money that YOU give to me and then I’m going to lend it back to you at interest. Are you kidding me? I sometimes wonder how the Watchtower leaders can even sleep at night.

Yours in Christ,

Doug Shields