New commercial-style standard kingdom hall design unveiled to elders
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If you live in the United States, could this be what your next local kingdom hall will look like?

If you live in the United States, could this be what your next local kingdom hall will look like?

On Saturday, January 31st a special meeting was held for all elders in the United States Branch Territory. A letter sent out in advance advised elders that the meeting would be to unveil “a new, dramatically different Kingdom Hall design.”

Since then, images of the proposed new standardized “cookie cutter” design have been leaked on an ex-JW forum. They show a building that appears to have been envisioned with commercial applications in mind if the building ever needs to be sold in future.

One elder’s notes from the two-and-a-half hour meeting, also leaked online, indicate that elders were urged by Governing Body helper Robert Luccioni not to become like the Israelites who complained after leaving Egypt.

Ecclesiastes 7:10 was read, which says: “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ for it is not out of wisdom that you ask this.” The application was made that elders should not dwell on the past or point out flaws in the new arrangements.

Robert Luccioni co-hosting the February 2015 JW Broadcasting episode

Robert Luccioni co-hosting the February 2015 JW Broadcasting episode

Leon Weaver, also a Governing Body helper, then revealed that there had been heated discussions within the US branch committee through the night as to whether the design for the new standardized kingdom halls was to be residential or commercial. Eventually, however, it seems all voted in favor of a commercial-style model – with windows.

JWsurvey has already reported on the changes that are being introduced by the Governing Body regarding how kingdom halls and assembly halls are built and financed. These changes involve all congregations sending a fixed donation to Watchtower every month, even if they were not previously in debt, and relinquishing all surplus funds to Watchtower.

Though the majority of rank-and-file publishers seem to have greeted the changes under the false impression that Watchtower is waiving the debts of congregations, not everyone has fallen for it.

On my Facebook page I was sent the following PM by an active publisher, who is happy for me to share it while asking to remain anonymous…

Hey John. I’m a baptized JW. I created this hidden account for myself for obvious reasons. I’m married to a zealous sister…my family are 90% JW and I was raised one from birth.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. I have been doing a lot of digging around and watching videos on YouTube… including yours on this organization. Reason why? Some things just don’t seem right. Some things just don’t seem logical..etc.

Last night a letter was read at my KH – by the way I’m from [country deleted]… The letter said that from now on, all contributions we make will be towards one global fund… so no more KH building fund box, world wide work box etc. It’s just one contribution that will go into a global fund. Now there was a resolution from the headquarters to be passed by all congregations that each congregation will send a certain amount to this global fund monthly.

The amount that was set for our congregation was [equivalent to] US $113. Keep in mind this is separate from Congregation expenses. We have around 70+ publishers. I thought if our brothers are struggling to pay congregation expenses… how are we going to keep this up monthly? Anyways they say it will go to everything like disasters, building halls, printing etc.

BUT THIS IS WHERE I WAS DISTURBED. AFTER THE MEETING I WAS CLEARING THE CONTRIBUTION BOX… AND I WAS TALKING TO AN ELDER ABOUT THE LETTER WHO IS THE SECRETARY… JUST TO UNDERSTAND IT FULLY. HE SAID TO ME… “WE WILL NEED TO KEEP IT UP SO THAT JEHOVAH’S SERVICE WILL BE CARRIED OUT… FOR EXAMPLE…I DON’T KNOW IF I SHOULD SAY THIS YET… BUT IT WILL BE NO SECRET SO I GUESS I CAN. DID YOU KNOW THAT LAST WEEK ALL CIRCUIT OVERSEERS GOT A BRAND NEW 2015 RAV4 FROM THE SOCIETY?”

I SAID “WHAT!!!!” HE SAID “YES BRAND NEW.” SO I SAID “BUT THE CO WAS HERE TWO WEEKS AGO WITH AN OLDER 2001 CAR?” THE ELDER SAID…”WELL I GUESS HE HAS 2 CARS NOW”… IN MY MIND I’M LIKE WHAT!!! THIS CANNOT BE RIGHT!!!
I AM STRUGGLING TO PAY MY BILLS AT HOME..I’M ENCOURAGED BY THE SOCIETY TO KEEP LIFE SIMPLE…DON’T START ANYTHING THAT’S GOING TO TAKE UP TIME LIKE A NEW BUSINESS EXTRA HOURS AT WORK ETC… AND NOW YOU ARE TELLING ME I MUST CONTRIBUTE MY MONEY SO THAT CIRCUIT OVERSEERS CAN DRIVE BRAND NEW CARS…ON TOP OF THAT…THE ELDER SAID THEIR SUVS WILL HAVE FREE SERVICING EACH TIME IT NEEDS IT AND ANY PARTS THEY NEED THIS WILL ALL BE PAID FOR BY THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY.”

KEEP IN MIND IT COSTS AROUND $217 TO SERVICE ONE OF THESE SUVS EXCLUDING PARTS. I WAS THINKING IN MY HEAD…YOU MEAN PAID BY ME AND OTHER POOR BROTHERS WHO EITHER HAVE TO WALK EVERYWHERE BECAUSE WE HAVE TO HAVE A SIMPLE LIFE OR IN MY CASE I HAVE AN OLD LITTLE CAR THAT NEED LOTS AND LOTS OF PARTS RIGHT NOW… I DON’T EVEN HAVE A/C IN MY CAR, AND I’M TO GIVE MY MONEY TO HELP BUY 2015 SUVS AND MAINTENANCE…

CAN’T BELIEVE THIS… MY WIFE THINKS ITS A BLESSING FROM JEHOVAH…BUT I CAN’T TALK MY FEELING BECAUSE WHENEVER I DO..SHE SAYS I’M AN APOSTATE! …WHAT DO YOU THINK? CAN YOU DO A VIDEO ON THIS? I’m not sure if the COs only in [my country] got 2015 SUVs or it’s a worldwide thing…but it’s shocking to me. I’m just in a puzzled state right now.”

Publishers like my friend above can expect to be even more bewildered as they see Watchtower continue its downsizing trend. Where once the organization prided itself on huge investment and global expansion – consolidation, thrift and cost-saving is now the order of the day.

Watchtower is now big on style, low on substance.

And with this new standardized kingdom hall, it appears Watchtower has one eye on what publishers will expect in return for accepting the new stealth-tithing arrangement, and one eye on making kingdom halls as marketable as possible should they eventually need to be sold off.

 

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135 Responses to New commercial-style standard kingdom hall design unveiled to elders

  1. Robert says:

    You are right, I did not intend to veer the comments off off target. I thought I might mention you use a softer tone at times that may be able to target a different type of fence rider so to speak. You are also right, I was much smarter than I am now. But you see there was this thing were I ingested a couple of hundred pills to arrange a meeting with my maker. The only thing it accomplished was it fried my brain fairly well. However I’m past feeling sorry for myself. For once in my life, I feel relieved and living in peace. I know there is much more talented people on this board and I did not wish to engage them, therefor the false modesty you speak of. But just this very night, my son was removed as a publisher. He probably would have been DF if I had not insisted on him not being baptized. He is smart kid with an IQ of about 132, but could not tell you which way is north. So needless to say he is young and has a lot to learn. As for me, I have been DF’d twice, reproved more times than I can count. I just didn’t want that for him. Being associated with some of these people and the power they can wield over you can drive you insane. Just so some of you know I got the street cred “thuggish American term” to speak on this board as anyone else if it truly is an open forum. So there is that. I have no ill will to the Org. But I love most of the people, so keep doing your thing.

  2. anonymous says:

    @Minion. I looked at those pictures of Mariner watches and Herd’s watch sure like a Submariner to me. If I had one of those watches, I’d be loving it so much that I’d be hating to take it off, even for a minute and I’d be hiding it under the table too. If anybody ever catches him at an assembly, they should ask him what time it is so he can show them his watch if he wears that same watch in public and isn’t ashamed to show it off.

    @Lawrence, even though JW’s don’t ask for money to place the magazines, they are supposed to ask for a donation but every time I went out, very rarely did anybody actually ask for a donation but every now and then, somebody would give us money. The money that Witnesses get out in service for any literature is supposed to go in the contribution box towards the world wide work. But the thing is, when Witnesses take out the magazines at the Hall, it is expected that they would pay for the magazines first out of pocket, whatever they can afford into the contribution box for the worldwide work. So, the Society doesn’t “give” the magazines away. Every month, the congregation takes the money that the brothers and sisters put in the contribution box towards those magazines and books and CD’s etc. and sends it to the Society. So, then when the householder actually gives the Witness some money towards the printing of the literature, then that money goes into the contribution box, so in effect, the Society is getting paid two times for the literature. That’s a scam.

    @Robert. I also took a bottle of pills when I was young but thankfully went to the hospital in time so no bad effects but it did teach me that I’d never let the religion make me think I’d take that way out ever again. That isn’t to say that my life hasn’t been miserable though because I chose to get baptized into this religion.

    I do have ill will towards the Society. I have no ill will against the people but I do have very much ill will towards the Governing Body and I am not afraid to let it show in every comment I make.

    When I first started “waking” up, I wasn’t as angry but the more I learned about the underbelly of the Society and all the lies, the angrier I got and I want for anybody who is questioning their religion to see my anger.

    I don’t want to give the impression of being “soft” on this religion. It is one of the most harmful ways of life that a person could live and I want that feeling to come across loud and clear in every comment I make.

    I have had 50 years of experience in the religion and I could write a book about it and that would only be scratching the surface of my hate. If we on this site are “soft” in our comments, it isn’t going to help people to see the real “truth”. I want every person who comes on here, to feel our love for them so they don’t have to suffer like the rest of us have and either get out of it or never join. That is my hope.

    • Lawrence says:

      Anonymous,I believe that the Society is losing money supporting third world congregations.Poor Africans who hardly have enough money to put food on the table wouldn’t pay for all those Watchtower publications.In all likelihood,the Society has to foot the bill for the publications as well as Kingdom Hall building/renovation projects.What about Latin America,Southeast Asia,etc.?

  3. @Anonymous. I enjoyed your last comment& you have been through so much & I understand you Want to SHOUT from the ROOFTOPS How EVIL this Religion is & Not to Let them off Lightly as They are DESTROYING FAMILIES & TEARING Them Apart!!

  4. anonymous says:

    @Pickled brain, and to think that every day, there’s probably another 1,000 men, women and children being baptized into this mind-destroying cult. It’s like trying to shovel snow with a feather. But, eventually if there’s enough of us out here shouting and screaming about all the abuses, it will stop some of them from getting baptized or help them to see what it’s really all about and get out.

    It’s the children who are the most vulnerable and we have the internet on our side. I am so glad I finally found the real truth about the “truth” before I die anyway.

    The other night one of the elders (nice young man) called to find out my husband’s time and asked me if I had seen the latest February broadcast and asked me about what I thought about the American Indian part and I told him straight out that I can’t say anything good about it. I told him that over and over again and it was like talking to a brain dead Zombie. Those people are so hypnotized, it is pathetic.

    I lay awake at night, thinking of words to describe my hatred of the Society so there’s more coming. It will be a while before I run out of my vitriol towards the Society and I am not worried about hurting any feelings when it comes to my description of the Society.

    If people come on here and expect me to be kind towards the Society, it ain’t gonna happen. Like I said, every day, there’s at least 1,000 more people who will have their present and future life taken away from them because of this religion and I have no pity for the Organization that is using and abusing them for their own greed and self-exaltation.

  5. anonymous says:

    @Lawrence, when we had to pay for our literature outright at the magazine counter when we picked it up, our congregation was sending $500 to $600 a month for the “world wide” work and then when it went to putting the money in the contribution box instead of paying for the literature outright when we picked them up, the amount sent to the Society was between $300 – $450. I always felt so bad about that, thinking just as you do that at least our congregation should pay what it would cost to produce the literature and our congregation was falling way short of even that much.

    The amount put in the contribution box towards the upkeep of our Kingdom Hall was always enough but then the congregation was not only paying for upkeep but bills to the Society for insurance and the loan to pay off for the remodeling so it was made clear how much was needed for upkeep and that was contributed each month. Now, my congregation is paying over $700 a month to the Society, when their loan was already paid off but the Society tricked our congregation into paying off that loan forever with no end in sight, with the idea that that money is supposed to be paying for Kingdom Halls in poor countries. I find that being fraudulent. The elders had 4 pages to that letter but only read the first page, making the congregations thinking that if somebody had a loan to pay off, that they didn’t have to pay it off but it was only a trick. It wasn’t sincere. Then the elders were to meet in secret and make up a story to the congregations how the elders had decided that they wanted to give the same amount as the paid off loan to the Society to help poor brothers and sisters. The thing is, the Society asked them to do it that way. It was deceitful. Do you think Jehovah would use deceit on his people like that, or do you think it’s not backed up by God, after all. If it was backed up by Jehovah, why would he resort to deceit to extract money for his work?

    Last year, I felt just as you do now, that the Society was losing money in the poorer countries where the people couldn’t afford the literature and in the richer countries such as the U.S. we should make up for the poorer brothers and sister but I did some research and found out that the Society is very wealthy because they have dozens of ways of making money that the rank and file have no idea how it’s done. I am sure it costs millions every day to pay for all the printing of the publications, special pioneers, bethel buildings, bethelites upkeep, the farm, circuit overseers and on and on so I am well well aware that to keep the whole thing is very costly.

    When it comes to all the money the Society brings in and how much they are worth in properties and investments, nobody has any idea. There is zero transparency as far as how much they take in and how much they spend and on what. We have no idea where the money goes or for what but like the Bible says, if it wasn’t for willing preachers, God could make the stones cry out.

    This religion has turned into an organization that is much more concerned about building projects than the preaching work. If it was more concerned about telling people that if they don’t turn to God they will be killed at Armageddon, they could produce one book and study it with people and that book could have gone back 100 years with no additions or subtractions, if it really was the “truth”. They wouldn’t need dozens and dozens of publications to study the Bible with people. Just one book would do it. Simple. No need for Bethelites and no need for Bethel buildings. Simple. Cheap.

    If it was just the one book, then people could pick the thing apart and make sure it is according to the Bible. The way it is with the Watchtower, with all the publications they put out, it is almost impossible for the average rank and file to prove or disprove anything. It’s us that have been in it a long time who still have all the old literature to see all the flip flops.

    The newer people and children have no idea all the lies and flip flops and believe it as the real “truth” with no way of either proving it or disproving it unless they are brave enough to go on the internet and start researching the Society and trying to prove the existing doctrines the Society is passing off on new recruits as the “truth”.

    Once a person starts trying to actually prove the doctrines that they teach as “truth”, they will be sadly disappointed to find out there is very little that the Watchtower puts out as “truth” that actually is true at all.

    Once a person finds out about all the lies about the real history of the organization, very few people would be impressed with this religion anymore but actually be ashamed of it because it doesn’t come near to being a real “Christian” religion. Anybody with a working knowledge of the scriptures can prove any Witness wrong on many Watchtower doctrines that don’t agree with the Scriptures.

    The person not afraid to research the doctrins would come to realize that Witnesses are actually worshipping the Organization, rather than the God of the Bible but they don’t realize that because they have been sucked into it so gradually.

    So, no, I don’t buy it that the Society is losing money on poorer countries and poorer people. They have more money than they know what to do with. You need to do some research to find out how much money they take in and where it goes and how much they own. You will be up against a brick wall if you do that.

    I won’t support an organization that there is no transparency.

    What have they to hide????

  6. @Anonymous ! BRILLIANT Comment. In a Nutshell We want TRANSPARENCY!! Governing Body send Each Congregation Your ACCOUNTS Every Year for LAST 10 YEARS Itemising EVERYTHING !!!

  7. M. Rhodes says:

    I find it interesting that after repeatedly drilling home that donations were voluntary and never taken, unlike the churches, now there is a set amount that congregations have to send. So much for voluntary donations. This is just like tithing but simply has a different name–whether called the donation arrangement or the global fund.

    And Witnesses are so conditioned to switch tracks that very few will see how this is the total opposite of what they were told only a few short years ago.

  8. Circle K-ingdom hall…

    • JBob says:

      @Roxanne+ yep, Circle-K… also note that this new design loses any resemblance and similarity to the “cross” shape that churches usually had in years past. But, this seems to indicate a trend toward merging congregations to form mega-congregations (competing with [drumroll] AOG & evangelical megachurches).

  9. well they did just sell $500,000,000 in NY hotels in the last few years. That is half-a-billion in major bank right there alone. I think the public record is around 900 Mil from NY real estate liquidations alone in the last decade.

    It is easily feasible they control a couple billion in total international assets and may have liquidated far more than just that present in NY since 2007.

  10. Lyn says:

    Talk about “no frills”…