The Yearbook is a highlight for many Witnesses, but what do the stories really tell us?
The Yearbook is a highlight for many Witnesses, but what do the stories really tell us?

A regular highlight for Jehovah’s Witnesses is the release of the Yearbook, which chronicles the accomplishments of the organization over the past service year and beyond.

The 2014 Yearbook has now been released, and I have had some time to skim through its contents. There are the usual heartwarming stories where faith triumphs over adversity. There are also experiences that clearly demonstrate to those with an objective mind that the entrenched problems with the organization lie not far beneath the surface.

This article will attempt to present an honest review of the 2014 Yearbook. It will not take Watchtower’s rose-tinted sugar-coated approach, but will rather look at the stories behind the stories, and what impact the Governing Body is having on people’s lives.

The elephant in the room

It should go without saying that reaching the year 2014 is an unexpected, unwelcome and frankly embarrassing achievement from Watchtower’s perspective. We were simply not supposed to be at this point in human history without planet earth looking radically different, with arrangements of fruit gracing every table and a panda for every child.

Why? Because of what happened in 1914, of course.

Contrary to Watchtower’s sanitized version of its own history, 1914 was expected to signal, not the beginning of the last days, but the climactic end of them. As shown in the quote below from a Studies In The Scriptures volume, Russell believed Christ’s kingdom rule had begun in 1878, and that 1914 would mark the end of the “battle of the great day of God Almighty.”

Excerpt from "The Time Is At Hand," page 101, published in 1907
Excerpt from “The Time Is At Hand,” page 101, published in 1907

 

Fast forward 100 years since 1914, and we have had only more failed promises spewing forth from the pages of the Watchtower and its affiliated publications.

Russell’s successor Rutherford believed that 1925 would see the resurrection of the “ancient worthies” and the establishment of kingdom rule on the earth. So bold was he regarding this prediction that he then claimed that “millions now living will never die.” Suffice to say, virtually all the millions then living are now very much dead.

Fred Franz predicted that Armageddon would strike in 1975
Fred Franz predicted that Armageddon would strike in 1975

1975 was later touted as the date of Armageddon, with the late Fred Franz pointing to that year as marking six thousand years of human history. The year came and went with Witnesses selling homes and businesses in readiness for the great day of God’s wrath. Watchtower issued only a half-hearted apology years later, essentially blaming Witnesses for being so trusting. (w80 3/15 p.17 par.5,6)

And from my own childhood recollections I refuse to forget that the generation cognizant of the events of 1914 was not supposed to die off before Armageddon struck. So recent is this latter teaching that it still graces page 200 of the Reasoning Book, which in turn is still carried in the bags of Witnesses all over the world as they engage in their preaching work.

And so, as 2014 rolls around, there is every reason for Watchtower to humbly acknowledge a century of false predictions and resolve to be less forthright when making future prophetic estimations. Instead we get the following gleeful introduction to the Yearbook on page 2…

“About one hundred years ago, Jehovah installed Jesus as King in the invisible heavens. Since then, God’s servants have zealously made known the blessings that Christ’s Kingdom will bring. Imagine! Under the loving rulership of Jesus, the earth will become a paradise, filled with people who truly love one another. There will be no crime, no fighting, no sickness, no suffering, and no death.

Soon, those blessings will become a reality. God’s Kingdom is real, and it will come and fulfill all that Jehovah has purposed. Pray for the Kingdom to come, tell others about it, and treasure the hope of all that it will do for you.”

And so no lessons are learned, and no humble remorse is shown. We are simply required to “imagine” – suspend disbelief in the blind hope that Watchtower had it right all along despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

As was said before, during and after 1914, Armageddon continues to be “soon,” imminent, just around the corner. There seems to be no end to the number of times Watchtower’s boy can cry “wolf!”

armageddon-cartoon

The Yearbook concludes on pages 170-175 under the rather unimaginative heading “One Hundred Years Ago 1914” with a look back on events in the years leading up to and immediately following 1914.

The reader is reminded how much has changed since then, both within Watchtower and in the world in general. Nowhere is it mentioned honestly what the full expectations of Russell and his followers were for 1914, nor is it explained why a “short period of time” lasting a century is required by Christ before he can take action following his enthronement. (Rev. 12:12)

Instead, the reader is impressed with the need for loyalty. A countdown card circa 1914 is produced bearing the large inscription “be thou faithful unto death.” The message is clear – “Don’t think about whether we could be wrong, just be faithful until you die!”

"Countdown card" from page 175 of the 1914 Yearbook
“Countdown card” from page 175 of the 1914 Yearbook

 

Letter from the “fellow domestics”

In an obvious reference to the 2012 “new light” regarding the faithful slave, the Governing Body begins their traditional letter on pages 4 to 7 by addressing their readers as “Dear Fellow Domestics.”

Watchtower seems to believe that drilling home this idea that “we are ALL domestics” (to quote David Splane at the 2012 Annual Meeting) will lead Witnesses to the conclusion that the Governing Body are modest men who consider themselves on the same level as the ordinary rank and file. As nice as this idea sounds, it blatantly does not reflect reality. For evidence you need look no further than this very Yearbook.

The Governing Body’s letter best showcases the group’s growing propensity for narcissism. A photograph shows a weekly meeting in New York about to convene, with David Splane in the foreground entering a conference room where fellow members on swivel chairs desperately try to look as though they don’t know they are in a photo shoot.

From pages 4 and 5 of the 2014 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses
From pages 4 and 5 of the 2014 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses

 

A quick glance at the letter itself shows the Governing Body wasting no time in reminding Witnesses of their miraculous provision of the revised New World Translation at the 2013 Annual Meeting (or, as they put it, “the finest translation of the Bible available to mankind”).

With this and other apparently bounteous provisions extended (among which is even counted the opportunity for auxiliary pioneers to attend the full pioneer meeting during Circuit Overseer visits), 8 million Witnesses are given yet more reasons to give thanks to their dear faithful slave.

The Governing Body’s hogging of the limelight is perhaps best reflected in a quick comparison between the number of times Jesus is mentioned in the entire Yearbook compared to the Governing Body and its members, past and present. As you will see, though Jesus finds himself mentioned 21 times (including in the phrase “the Memorial of Christ’s death”), his “Slave” including its current and former incumbents receive no less than 36 mentions, as follows…

  • Jesus / Christ – 21 times
  • “Governing Body” – 15 times
  • Anthony Morris / Brother Morris – 6 times
  • Milton Henschel / Brother Henschel – 5 times
  • Guy Pierce / Brother Pierce – 3 times
  • Stephen Lett / Brother Lett – 2 times
  • David Splane / Brother Splane – 2 times
  • Mark Sanderson / Brother Sanderson – 2 times
  • Lloyd Barry – once

If this doesn’t send a clear message as to who’s really in charge of “the earthly part of God’s organization,” I don’t know what does.

Still no mention of profits?

Pages 8 to 13 deal with Watchtower’s selling of its Brooklyn properties and building of a new headquarters at Warwick, upstate New York. As has been repeatedly mentioned on this website, the whole endeavor is essentially a billion-dollar property flip.

Though exact figures are hard to come by, it is easy to calculate that Watchtower has pocketed over a billion dollars from the sale of its Brooklyn portfolio. The sale of the six-building factory complex mentioned on page ten of the Yearbook made Watchtower $375 million alone. In contrast, it has been revealed that total construction costs for Warwick, which is being built mostly with volunteer labor, are estimated at a mere $11.5 million.

And yet for all this blatant profiteering, with some construction volunteers even sacrificing their employment to help build the new headquarters, what you will not find in this Yearbook is any transparency regarding the amounts of money changing hands. Why? You can guess this for yourself, but I would submit that Watchtower is covering up its enormous profits simply because it doesn’t want to discourage people from sending in their donations, which it desperately needs.

Sparlock DVD continues to wreak havoc

In May 2012 the world caught its first glimpse of the “Become Jehovah’s Friend” DVD, in which a young Witness boy named Caleb is coerced by his unhinged mother into throwing his plastic toy wizard into the garbage. Why? Because it made Jehovah sad.

Though it is a vile and blatant attempt at child indoctrination, this DVD has had its positives. As reported on this website, the film has immunized a whole YouTube generation against Jehovah’s Witnesses by showing just how cultlike they are. One Mormon has even been helped to awaken from his indoctrination by seeing how mind control is employed to such great effect by Watchtower through the story of Sparlock and Caleb.

Even so, I still can’t help but wish this dreadful film had never been released. To see why, you need only look at pages 20 to 22 of the new Yearbook under the sinister heading “Animated Videos Touch Righteous Hearts.”

Pictures are shown of children in Vietnam and Croatia laughing and singing along to the film, blissfully unaware that their brains are in the process of being rewired. A series of experiences are related to show how children are responding to the DVD. Unquestionably the most chilling of these is left for the end of the article (pages 21 and 22)…

“In Ecuador two non-Witness Quichua-speaking boys, eight-year-old Isaac and his five-year-old brother, Saul, used to save their daily snack money to buy toy guns, swords, and action figures. One day their mother asked them to tidy up their room and to put all their toys in a cardboard box under the bed. Later, the boys were given the new Become Jehovah’s Friend DVD as a gift, and they watched it together. A week later, while the mother was cleaning the house, she found that the cardboard box under the bed was empty except for a toy car. She asked the boys, ‘Where are the toys?’ They answered, ‘Jehovah doesn’t like those toys, so we threw them in the garbage.’ Now when other neighborhood children play with toys that promote violence, Isaac tells them: ‘Don’t play with that. Jehovah doesn’t like it!'”

I can’t decide what about this experience is more disturbing. Is it the fact that the film is apparently even indoctrinating non-Witnesses? Is it that these two boys in Ecuador ended up wasting their pocket-money on toys Watchtower made them throw away?

Or is it more likely the fact that sword and action figures have now been added to Watchtower’s seemingly endless list of things that make Jehovah sad, with the fate of a shriveled Adam and Eve looming over any child who dares to focus his or her imagination on a harmless object?

Toy swords and ALL action figures now join Sparlock in the blue dumpster
Toy swords and ALL action figures now join Sparlock in the blue dumpster

 

An incomplete legal report

I was intrigued to stumble on a section spanning pages 27 to 35 entitled “Legal Report.” Could this perhaps contain some reference to the recent glut of child abuse lawsuits, including the Candace Conti verdict that Watchtower is now appealing? Would at least one or two of Irwin Zalkin’s reported 11 child molestation lawsuits against Watchtower receive some acknowledgment?

As you might expect, the report contains nothing of the sort. Instead, all nine pages are devoted to Watchtower’s legal victories in the area of freedom of worship and conscientious objection.

It is a bitter irony that this organization applauds itself for securing its own religious liberties whilst cruelly snatching the same from those who dare to question its practices through the threat of shunning.

Dedications versus downsizing

Yearbooks traditionally report on new branch dedications and this year is no exception, as you will find on pages 39 to 43. South Korea, Liberia, Georgia, Myanmar and Moldova all received newly built or renovated branch facilities, so Governing Body members Lett, Morris, Pierce and Splane were dispatched to bring some celebrity to the proceedings.

But again, we see only one side of the coin, giving us the impression that Watchtower is enjoying relentless international growth. No attempt is made to chronicle or explain the number of branches closed in the same year as part of Watchtower’s ongoing downsizing (or “consolidation”) initiative. It is noteworthy that branch levels continue to plummet from their 2009 peak of 118 to just 91 as of last year.

branch-numbers

 

Defamatory propaganda?

My eyebrow was raised by an experience recounted on pages 63 and 64, in which an Armenian mother and daughter stood for two hours in bad weather in an effort to meet some Witnesses. Their reason? They had heard “defamatory propaganda” against the Witnesses on TV programs and posters, and couldn’t fathom how any of it could be true.

A close relative of theirs had encountered Witnesses incarcerated as conscientious objectors during his stay in prison. As a result of their influence he had come out a changed man. “My uncle is such a wonderful person. So why are there so many bad things being said about Jehovah’s Witnesses?” exclaimed the daughter, Yeva.

Well, Yeva, though I don’t know what they’ve been saying over there in Armenia (because Watchtower doesn’t tell us), I can tell you that bad things are rightly said about Jehovah’s Witnesses in most other countries because their leaders, the Watch Tower Society, have an atrocious track record of mishandling child abuse, dissuading young people from attending college, making it almost impossible for beaten wives to leave their husbands, allowing people to die by refusing medical treatment involving blood, and coercing families to shun loved ones who decide to leave.

Meanwhile, Watchtower claims that so-called apostates, those who dare to speak out against the organization, are “mentally diseased” liars, the composite “man of lawlessness,” who speak “gangrenous” words and eat at the table of demons and seek to draw off followers after themselves.

And this is not considered “defamatory propaganda?”

Working for the police is NOT okay

I had to gasp in wonder while reading an experience between pages 65 and 67 in which a young Nepalese man with half the name of a Flintstone’s character is brought into the Witness fold.

Bam had been a policeman when he first met the Witnesses, but during the course of studying with them he felt pangs of conscience regarding his profession. It seems being a policeman and arresting bad guys also features on the long list of things that make Jehovah sad.

Bam first asked his superiors for a desk job in the hopes of calming his troubled mind, and they readily agreed. This allowed Bam to hang up his gun and handcuffs and avoid losing sleep as to whether he might end up hurting any criminals. But after attending a District Convention, Bam decided that even this wasn’t going quite far enough to satisfy his new religion.

As a rickshaw driver, Bam now has sore legs but a clean conscience
As a rickshaw driver, Bam now has sore legs but a clean conscience

Bam ended up leaving the police force altogether and becoming a rickshaw driver to the initial (and understandable) consternation of his wife.

Eventually his wife also became a Witness and saw the error of her ways in wanting Bam to remain as a policeman. After all, apart from the money, she had been overly concerned about her “social standing” as the wife of a Nepalese police officer.

And so the whole family became Witnesses and all lived happily ever after, especially after Bam did the math and discovered he was earning more as a rickshaw driver than he was previously as a policeman.

It remains to be seen whether Bam feels the same way about that desk job once he has aged a bit more and his knees have started to buckle.

And the moral of the story is: Jehovah’s Witnesses can benefit from the work of law enforcement – they just can’t become police officers themselves.

Self-sacrifice, or self-endangerment?

A number of stories in the 2014 Yearbook, like the one above, seem to center on individuals making unreasonable and sometimes absurd or even dangerous sacrifices to demonstrate or affirm their loyalty to Watchtower.

Here are just a few examples…

  • Man sells his bike for building project (p.37) Malachi is an elder living in Burundi who decided to sell his bicycle, his main source of livelihood, to free him to take time off work to assist with a kingdom hall build. After giving most of the proceeds from the sale of his bike to his wife to care for his family, he put the rest of the money in the contribution box (as though his volunteer labor wasn’t quite enough). This apparent recklessness was later rewarded when Malachi found employment in construction based on the experience he gained on the building project, and he has even since been able to afford a new bike. Even so, it doesn’t sit well with me for Watchtower to be recommending this kind of gung-ho “endanger your family’s long-term welfare for us, and it will all pan out eventually” approach – especially in poor countries where work can be scarce.
  • Seventy-year-old woman walks in bad weather to attend a meeting (pp.48-49) – apparently walking for two hours in the pouring rain is what you should do if you’re a seventy-year-old Witness woman anxious to attend your meeting and there is no bus.
  • Witness youth incites bullying by preaching at school (p.58) This experience struck a chord with me as someone who was frequently bullied as a child on the grounds of his religion. A young boy in Guyana finds himself sitting in the head teacher’s office with a split lip after being punched in the face by another boy who didn’t like being preached to. Obviously in no way do I condone bullying or violence of any sort, but surely anyone who has been through school can understand that there are things you can do to make life easier for yourself, and make yourself less of a target for mindless thugs. Gleefully telling your classmates about their impending destruction at Armageddon is not such a strategy. And yet, Watchtower is happy for countless young ones to expose themselves to the physical and emotional harm caused by bullying so long as their objectives are furthered.
  • Disabled woman auxiliary pioneers every month for two years (p.67) Do you happen to be a very ill person with a bad leg caused by paralysis as a child? Do you get easily exhausted and suffer frequent falls? If so, you should definitely spend 50 hours per month preaching as an auxiliary pioneer. What’s that? You also experience panic attacks, difficulty breathing, pain caused by tension and anxiety, and side-effects from all the medication you are taking? In that case, I would prescribe auxiliary pioneering every month for at least two years, maybe more.
  • Polio victim serves as a regular pioneer (p.128-129) Again we have a very ill woman, this time a victim of polio crippled from the waist down who suffers from “chronic pain,” being held aloft by Watchtower as proof that there really are NO excuses for not pioneering (unless, of course, you are a Governing Body member). If you are using the fact that you are wheelchair-bound to escape doing your 70 hours of preaching every month, could it be that you just aren’t trying hard enough? Have you thought of enlisting the help of other brothers and sisters to get you from one door to the next, and round all your route calls? Don’t forget that your fellow Witnesses can be called upon in this way at any time, unless of course it is with the aim of attending an international convention as a delegate – in which case, please stay at home and don’t bother anyone!

If I sound flippant or overly sarcastic, please excuse me. It’s just that, having read this Yearbook, I am enraged and astounded at the manner in which the Governing Body seems only too willing to send people into the trenches on their behalf from the comfort of their swivel chairs despite all manner of adversities.

This indifference is best summed up on page 165 where we find Kevin Washington, a Gilead missionary in Sierra Leone, quoted as saying: “Many publishers regularly preach and care for congregation responsibilities in the face of problems that might prompt us to stay home and be cranky.”

By stereotyping as “cranky” those who live according to their limitations rather than throwing themselves on Watchtower’s altar, Kevin tells us everything we need to know about what it means to be a Witness, and how those who refuse to endanger their health to help promote the Governing Body are to be viewed.

Why no more debates?

William “Bible” Brown, a fearless missionary of Watchtower folklore, is frequently mentioned in this Yearbook. When reading some of his story, I am left admiring his tenacity and enthusiasm for his work, if not his misplaced religious convictions. Page 91 provides a perfect example of how the present Governing Body could well learn from his example…

“Rising to the clergy’s defense, a church youth group, dubbed the Gladiators, announced a series of public meetings to put down ‘Russellism,’ as they had styled the Kingdom message. In response, Brother Brown publicly challenged them to a series of debates. The Gladiators refused to accept Brother Brown’s challenge and rebuked the newspaper editor who printed it.”

One is reminded of the debates Charles Russell reportedly engaged in against church leaders of his day – undoubtedly the inspiration behind Brown’s public challenge of the “Gladiators.”

One is also left wondering why the present Governing Body is so fearful of exposing their own opinions to the cauldron of public debate. What precisely has changed since the days of Russell and Brown that makes the idea of speaking in debates so questionable? In refusing to respond to their opponents in this way, the Governing Body comes off looking less like Brown, and more like the Gladiators.

“The friend dropped dead!”

A strange experience is related on page 99. A man tries to dissuade a would-be Witness named Zachaeus from forsaking his local church in favor of a five-mile walk down a steep mountain to the nearest kingdom hall.

The man apparently says to Zachaeus, his friend, “Old man, if you continue to walk those five miles up and down this mountain to go to the hall of those people, you will be dead within a year.”

The man then apparently watches Zachaeus “walk up and down the mountain twice a week for five years.” Then, according to the Yearbook account, “the friend dropped dead!” Zachaeus, on the other hand, was said to be still feeling fit twenty-five years later.

Are we supposed to feel happy that a man’s friend died inexplicably? Was this story inserted as some sort of joke at the expense of non-Witnesses? I will leave it for you to decide.

“Jehovah had clearly protected and blessed it”

In dealing extensively with stories from Sierra Leone, the 2014 Yearbook commendably mentions the military unrest that ravaged that country for many years, including the personal stories of bravery on the part of Witnesses enduring brutal and seemingly endless rebel fighting.

In 1997 the fighting grew so fierce that a group of Watchtower missionaries had to be evacuated by helicopter from Freetown by the U.S. Marines as part of what they were later told was the largest civilian evacuation conducted by the U.S. Navy since the Vietnam War.

The U.S. Marines came to Watchtower's rescue in 1997, but shouldn't expect a thank you
The U.S. Marines came to Watchtower’s rescue in 1997, but shouldn’t expect a thank you

The following year the Sierra Leone Bethel itself was ransacked by rebel forces. It was only after the forces of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) had assumed control of Freetown that normality was restored with the missionaries returning. But even then, the violence wasn’t over.

In January 1999, rebel forces launched “Operation No Living Thing” – a campaign of carnage and terror in which 6,000 civilians were massacred, with arms and limbs hacked off randomly. Witnesses were not immune from the violence, with one brother killed (according to the Yearbook) and another bludgeoned in the head with an axe. Only with the intervention of a British expeditionary force in August of that year could peace be restored and the Witnesses allowed to continue their activities undisturbed.

You would think there would be some acknowledgment of the debt of gratitude owed by Jehovah’s Witnesses to government forces (including the armies of “Anglo-America” no less) in rescuing missionaries, purging Sierra Leone of bloodthirsty thugs, and restoring law and order. Instead, this is what we find on page 145…

“How had Jehovah’s organization fared? Jehovah had clearly protected and blessed it. During the conflict, about 700 people were baptized. Hundreds of Witnesses had fled the war zone, yet the number of publishers in Sierra Leone increased by 50 percent.”

It should come as no surprise that emotionally frightened and vulnerable people in a war-ravaged country would throw themselves into the arms of a religion offering an “imminent” transition to worldwide peace and security. It is equally to be expected that Watchtower should give no credit to the protection of the governmental instruments that brought an end to the savagery, thus allowing their religion to flourish. Instead, Watchtower claims it was Jehovah who had “clearly” both blessed and protected the organization.

“Prodigals” welcomed back?

Anyone who has been following my personal story will know that I recently had cause to relate the account of the prodigal son to some elders. During my judicial committee I reminded my accusers that Watchtower’s practice of shunning is unscriptural, because nowhere does the Bible say that family members should shun eachother on religious grounds.

Rather, the prodigal son parable offers an example of a son returning to his father for no other reason than because he had run out of food and money. And while his son was still some way off, even before repentance or lack thereof had been established, the father ran out to him and embraced him.

In sharp contrast, Witness parents are urged to spurn the love of their delinquent teenagers, considering them to be no better than Nadab and Abihu (the errant priests consumed by fire from the heavens). (w11 7/15 p.31)

So you can imagine how intrigued I was to see the prodigal son parable referred to on page 157, as follows…

“In recent times, a growing number of ‘lost sheep’ have been found. These are persons who had drifted away or had been removed from the congregation. Many such prodigals have turned around and made their way back to the truth. Jehovah’s people have welcomed them with open arms.—Luke 15:11-24.”

The above words, which describe individuals in Sierra Leone and Guinea returning to the Witnesses in recent years, hijack the parable of the prodigal son and completely reinvent it.

The prodigal son in Christ’s parable was never disfellowshipped, or even admonished by his religious leaders. There was no acceptance on his part of what was or wasn’t “the truth.” As I mentioned, the son simply returned home and was embraced by his father before repentance was even confirmed.

Rather than applying the prodigal son parable to the family as Jesus intended it, Watchtower seems intent on applying it to the entire organization – the “spiritual mother.” In so doing, it willfully overlooks the fact that the father was ready to show love to his son regardless of his judicial standing.

Though I am now agnostic, I find it sad and disturbing that one of the most beautiful and laudable teachings of Jesus could be so distorted and misappropriated by Watchtower, seemingly without Witnesses noticing.

Wondrous expansion now taking place?

With all the fuss being made about the recently revamped JW.org site on pages 14 to 17 of the Yearbook, you would expect to be blown away by a resulting influx of Witnesses when you finally reach the worldwide report. Instead, we find only a modest improvement in the growth rate, from 1.9% in 2012 to 2.1% in 2013.

Bear in mind that global population growth is estimated at 1.14% annually. Jehovah’s Witnesses can therefore expect to grow by roughly 100,000 publishers per year simply by breeding and dying at the same rate as everyone else. It’s therefore not much to write home about if the organization has beaten global population growth by just one percentage, especially when you consider the recent added impetus of JW.org and the urban preaching effort using push carts.

And the bad news for Watchtower is that, when you look at the growth rate trend over the past ten years, there are few reasons for optimism. Only twice, in 2007 and 2009, has the growth rate nudged over the 3% mark – a far cry from the 7.1% increase recorded in 1984.

percentage-growth

The increasing futility of the preaching work is perhaps best illustrated by the growing ratio of hours to baptisms. The following graph shows that the number of hours required per baptism has steadily increased over the past ten years, from 4,886 in 2004 to 6,639 in 2013 (the equivalent of just over nine months).

hours-baptismAll this means that it is unquestionably getting harder for Witnesses to get tangible results in the preaching work beyond placing literature. This can be due in no small measure to the abundance of objective information about Watchtower now available online. For all Governing Body’s spin, self-publicity and navel-gazing, there is simply no escaping Watchtower’s chequered history and present scandals.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

 

new-cedars-signature2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further reading…

75 thoughts on “My review of the 2014 Yearbook

  • January 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm
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    Thank you for an excellent summary! The Society use rose colored glasses when relating anything to do with their organization, which makes it so difficult for the sheeplike masses who, right or wrong, just go along.

    It’s blatantly dishonest that they don’t even mention all the worldwide branch offices that closed and only mention the additions. It gives one a completely false impression. And how they can spin 100 YEARS of failed Watchtower prophecy into something positive is downright cultlike. I’m glad however they are marrying themselves to 1914, because as time goes by, that year is as relevant to us today as the French Revolution or any other long forgotten war of the distant past.

  • January 10, 2014 at 1:55 pm
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    How nice that they fight for freedom of worship and conscientious objection… for them. A family member doesn’t want to be held to a decision he/she made at 9, 10, 11, or 12, or has an objection to being part of a religion that routinely covers up child sexual assault and that endorses domestic violence, and they don’t have these same rights. They demand countries give them more freedoms and respect than they give their own families.

    That picture and those mentions of the governing body are sickening. I hardly knew any of their names growing up and now I see their ugly mugs everywhere.

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of greediness and self-indulgence.”

    “Take care not to practice your righteousness in front of men to be noticed by them; otherwise you will have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens. So when you make gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be glorified by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”

    “Also, when you pray, do not act like the hypocrites, for they like to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the main streets to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”

    I laughed out loud when I read about Caleb’s “unhinged” mother. Unfortunately my mother and many more like her were just as fanatical and tight-fisted, if not even more so.

  • January 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm
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    Very good! I love your site. I follow since it began.
    Every day I keep ancious for News. Gongratulations!
    (sorry my bad english)

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm
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    Having looked at the statistics for 2013, its good to note that 64 countries had zero or negative growth.

    Also, we have conformation regarding the number of congregations in Poland. Last year, many were confused as to why there was a decline in congregations – 327 of them! many assumed it was a typo error. However, this year confirms that indeed the amount of congregations in Poland has declined as there has been a further reduction this year making it almost 400 congregations dissolved in just 2 years. Many Polish witnesses are moving to other countries and, as i live in the U.K., i’ve seen many Polish groups and congregations form all over the country (i was part of 3 such Polish groups in my area) but ive also noticed alot of Polish jehovahs Witnesses, upon arrival here, use there new opportunity to fade away and become inactive as my area has quite a number of ones who have done just that.

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:52 pm
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    Hi Cedars! I have always read your articles and they are very good. On this review you don’t mention the increase of the memorial partakers. Do you believe that is the actual number reported on the yearbook?

    • January 11, 2014 at 1:49 am
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      Hello seanfranz, thanks for your kind comment!

      Yes I noticed the increase in partakers, but to be honest it doesn’t excite me as it does others. The Governing Body has already kicked this problem into the long grass by suggesting memorial partakers might be mentally or emotionally unbalanced, and of course we all know the 1935 teaching has now been scrapped in a Questions From Readers article. (w07 5/1 p.30) The number of partakers thus remains a point of interest, but perhaps not AS interesting (to me at least) as it used to be before the aforementioned developments.

  • January 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm
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    out of interest to your comment, when i was “in”, a sister once told me that an interested person was present at a memorial observance in her congregation a few years back and, as he considered himself to be a christian, he partook of the emblems. At that time, she said the elders told her that they are directed to record anyone who partakes and include them in their overall number of those who partake. From then on, i have always been very skeptical of the rising number of partakers as hundreds of religious non-witness all over the world could innocently be doing this very thing thus bumping up the number of partakers. (However, how true it is that everyone who partakes has to be recorded even if they are not a jehovah witness has yet to be confirmed by an authoritative source.)

  • January 10, 2014 at 6:16 pm
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    I’m speechless. An outstanding review, Cedars. To tie onto the 1914 highlights and a previous posting you made about the recent “Creation”-themed magazine, I’m surprised the Yrbk didn’t reference “Papa” Russell’s little cinematography excursion, “Photo Drama of Creation” the motion picture, since that is also 100 years old in 2014.

    Also, an insult to state that a “mighty god” is ruling yet unable to stop the senseless violence and terror that played out over the last 100 years on “His creation” and against His chosen ones.

    But, this Panda in every pot, when did that change from a lion and a lamb sleeping in the children’s beds? or, little babies playing with cobras?

    The Sparlock DVD probably seems controversial to liberal parents, but the discouraged toys come straight from the harsh-liner JW parents (conservatives) who raised children to shun GI Joe action figures, witches, television shows featuring “witches” and sorcerers, comic books, and watching violent tv shows. It intersects with other conservative evangelicals and religious sects that also “frown upon” those type things. As I recall as child, it was a rivalry among those sects whom could be the most pious and identify the least pious activities and ban them. Throw in those Satanic shows that proved evolution with pictures of fossils and statements of the millions of years, and your childhood was like eating a bowl of unsalted cream of wheat. Mmm-mmm, yummy…

    Battleship, anyone?

  • January 10, 2014 at 6:38 pm
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    the 11.5 million dollar figure for ‘building costs’ for the new headquarters is incorrect and hilarious ! Even our local circuit assembly Hall costs almost twice that amount (also built with volunteers).

    For example when we did built in WallKill (i mean the stuff before the latest expanding) the buildings costed over 100 million dollars according to an interview in the media from an official source. In that interview it was said that they had an initial budget in mind of 50 million dollar but as soon as they started building it turned out they needed at least twice that amount. Was that a problem? Not at all, we are never short of cash, Jehovah did provide was the official statement.

    Ask around, i am sure that many of your exjw friends (on for example jwn) can confirm this story

    Sp do we make a good net profit after selling in brooklyn? Sure we do. But the costs for our new headquarters will be much much more than 11.5 million.

    • January 11, 2014 at 1:44 am
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      Hello Emeth, welcome to the site!

      Either you are not a fan of clicking on links to find the sources of information, or you dispute the figure given by “The Real Deal” magazine, which printed the following…

      “By comparison, the organization’s new 253-acre campus in Warwick, N.Y., will cost an estimated $11.5 million to build.”

      Here is the link… http://therealdeal.com/issues_articles/nonprofits-sitting-on-gold/

      It seems your issue is, not with me, but with a real estate magazine with no reason to lie.

      Or perhaps your frustration would be better directed at Watchtower for their lack of transparency in these matters.

  • January 10, 2014 at 11:10 pm
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    Thanks for the very interesting read and the hard work and time that went into it, Cedar.

  • January 11, 2014 at 12:32 am
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    I will never read that yearbook as it’s a load of horse poo, but I believe I’ve got the main theme of it from your comprehensive analysis. The main theme is: DO MORE.
    Period. People walking five ks to a meeting, pioneering in wheelchairs, getting beaten at school for witnessing to the kids…hey, if you aren’t putting yourself in personal danger or the way of intense physical and emotional suffering…DO MORE!

  • January 11, 2014 at 1:48 am
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    Thanks Cedar for great work. As I thought the number of of participants 600 more, than last year in the Memorial Partakers Worldwide .Probably after 10-20 years witnesses to allow everyone to participate in Memorial…

  • January 11, 2014 at 1:56 am
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    Well done, very clear and enlightening. I cannot imagine how much time it took to analyse and write this article, so thank you!
    I love the “panda” analogy. Its so funny! Maybe they have gone from the lion and the lamb after watching a David Attenborough or two and have started to understand nature and why Lion’s are predatory. I doubt it though. The panda is a useful device given the rise of China on the economic scene. Its so good to laugh at this stuff and recognise how much personal expansion and global expansion is taking place as people reject the cult.

  • January 11, 2014 at 3:52 am
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    Thank you Cedars for an excellent article. Sometimes I wish I have more spare time to translate your articles to Serbian language…but, at the end of the day, it is not so important. There is negative or very poor growth in most of the Balkan coutries.

  • January 11, 2014 at 4:33 am
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    Two questions which maybe Cedars or readers can answer:

    1. How many of the c. 8 million are real practising, KH attending door knocking and believing JWs?

    2. Without Brooklyn and before the new build, where are the mags. printed?

    • January 11, 2014 at 4:42 am
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      Hi Rowland, I believe I can answer those!

      The circa 8 million figure (7,965,964 peak pubs / 7,698,377 av. pubs) is based on actual reporting publishers. If they’re reporting at least some time on the ministry each month, you can bet virtually all of them are also attending meetings. How many of these 8 million actually believe every single teaching of Watchtower is another question entirely, and finding the answer is one of the main reasons why I set up this site.

      As to your second question, I believe the majority (if not all) of the magazines for the U.S. are now printed at Wallkill, and have been for some time.

  • January 11, 2014 at 5:33 am
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    Hi Cedars,
    With reference to your Russell quotation that is what Russell believed until 1904. After that he began to change his position. You can see what he believed just prior to 1914 and up to his death in 1916 at http://ctr.rlbible.com/?p=80

    • January 11, 2014 at 6:00 am
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      Hello Miken

      I’m aware that Russell’s beliefs frequently fluctuated as they were found to be flawed, but the quoted passage was from a book published in 1907 (not 1904), so it’s safe to say those were his beliefs at least up six/seven years before 1914. It’s fairly obvious that Russell would need to change his position shortly thereafter, including up to his death in 1916, by necessity. I personally believe his predictions sufficiently in advance of 1914 are of greater relevance, since Watchtower repeatedly misrepresents “expectations” for that year.

  • January 11, 2014 at 6:15 am
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    What an excellent article, Cedars!

    I am also disgusted by the lack of honesty in their yearbooks.

    Thanks for all your hard work.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • January 11, 2014 at 8:15 am
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    Is it possible to find anywhere an actual chronology of what Bible Students/Jehovah’s Witnesses believed with regard to “The Last Days”, “Jesus’ Presence”, “Armageddon”? It is somewhat confusing to jump around the internet, finding contradictions, to determine the facts. And, of course, it is not possible to get that from the modern WTS publications, such as 1914 YB, as there is so much disingenuousness and open-ended language contained therein.
    Thanks.

  • January 11, 2014 at 8:55 am
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    A tiny typo in an excellent article: “God’s servants have zealously made know …” Known, right?

    • January 11, 2014 at 8:59 am
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      Well spotted, thanks!

  • January 11, 2014 at 10:31 am
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    Just like any large corporation who publishes their year end revenues, it is without question that numbers are always inflated or deflated in a attempt to make themselves look better then they really are.
    Where deceit lying and evasion of the true facts exists how could one really rely on such one sided findings or exaggerated stories as listed in this yearbook?
    Recently my own flesh and blood(sister JW) has swindled the rest of her brothers and sisters some non believers any inheritance from my parents estate.
    No conscience whatsoever but still masquerading a double life as a witness with her elder husband who makes over 100k per year. What hypocrites!!! My parents are rolling in their grave im sure.
    This type of conduct just keeps reinforcing why I have absolutely nothing to do with this destructive religion!
    But as they say what goes around comes around and their day will come in one way or another. Rest Assured!
    Sincerely The Disinherited Shunned Son!!
    P.S. Nice balanced article-Keep Them Coming Friend

  • January 11, 2014 at 10:43 am
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    Have anyone noticed that there is a 25.9 percent increase in 30 lands that are not reported? The is a jump of 10,000 peak publishers from previous year.

    Also, don’t forget 277,000 got baptised last year and 268,000 got baptised the previous year. In ALL there are increases!!

    • January 11, 2014 at 11:34 am
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      Hello Fred

      It amazes me that you find the fact that people are getting baptized a cause for celebration in a cult that routinely, systematically and unashamedly indoctrinates children from the moment they’re able to sit infront of a DVD player.

      As I explained in my article – global population growth is about 1.14%, so the Witnesses SHOULD be baptizing at least 100,000 per year simply by breeding and dying at the same rate as everyone else – unless you consider THAT an achievement? To add another 177,000 onto that figure is no huge deal – especially given the enormous effort exerted in the number of hours spent and the greater onus on use of JW.org and urban witnessing campaigns.

      As to the 30 other lands, you overlook the fact that these “other lands” encompass a vast area stretching all the way from the Western Sahara to the Korean peninsula, encompassing North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East. According to my calculations, these countries account for 2 BILLION people (1,967,948,191 to be exact) – and you wish to crow because there are now up to 39,388 Witnesses spread finely across this enormous swathe of our planet? Do you realize this works out at a ratio of 1 JW for every 50,000 people? And in three of those countries (North Korea, Somalia and Afghanistan) there are reportedly no Witnesses at all. What are the locals in those countries supposed to do when Armageddon strikes? Get out their popcorn?

      Amazingly the population-to-JW ratio gets even worse in some countries where the preaching work ISN’T under ban. The Palestinian Territory can only muster 1 JW per 61,667 people, Pakistan has 1 JW per 198,416, and Bangladesh (eighth most populous country in the world) has a whopping 775,000 people for every JW! Imagine having that many people on your magazine route call.

      You would be forgiven for assuming Jehovah isn’t overly keen on having Arabs or Asians in his new world order, due to arrive “imminently.”

  • January 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm
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    Excellent summary of the 2014 Yearbook. Thank you for your hard work in researching all of this information and putting together these well-written articles, Cedars. It keeps me up to date with what’s going on with the organization; it’s very much appreciated.

  • January 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm
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    The site the Watchtower purchased had an existing structures–former campus buildings of The King’s College-Tuxedo Junction satellite. The $11 mil possibly refers to a refurb and remodel of the buildings to suit Watchtower needs not construction of new buildings.

    • January 12, 2014 at 1:34 am
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      JBob – don’t hold me to this, but I’m pretty sure the existing structures on the site were completely demolished to make way for the new complex, as shown on the JW.org videos.

      There are three things to bear in mind when looking at the 11.5 million estimated costs…

      1) The purpose/size of the site – Warwick is not a factory or industrial complex. As World Headquarters it is pretty much just an office complex with capacity for receiving visitors and directing the worldwide work. When you look at the plans, you notice the size is nowhere on the scale of, say, Patterson or Wallkill, which are like miniature cities. Without any need to fork out on expensize industrial equipment or infrastructure, the costs should be relatively low.

      2) Materials – It has already been revealed that lumber farmed from the site is being recycled for construction use. This may not have a dramatic impact on the building expenses, but every little helps.

      3) Volunteer labor – Don’t underestimate how much this will impact on the overall costs. When all you need to worry about is the price of materials and maybe the occasional consultant/architect/planning costs, you can achieve tremendous savings.

      I admit the 11.5 million figure seems low to me too – but it’s been published by a third-party magazine with no motive to lie or exaggerate. In a vacuum of transparency on the part of Watchtower, and with the above points considered, I’m willing to run with it.

  • January 11, 2014 at 6:16 pm
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    JBob, we can argue dollars and cents about just how much their new site is costing, or we can all agree that it’s not costing them the billion dollars they will receive from their Brooklyn sales.

    We can also concur that the labour is being provided for free, which will significantly lower the overall costs.

    To keep metaphorically rattling the poor box in the faces of rank and file Witnesses is disingenuous at best and downright dishonest at worst.

    I shall finish with these words of wisdom

    “But beware anger, fear, aggression. To the dark side do they lead. Quick to join you in a fight”

    Remember, folks, we are all in agreement on the fundamentals, even though we may not share the same beliefs.

    Our cause is true and our motives are just.

    When I first learned the full depravity of this cult, I was filled with fury. A fury like I have never known.

    It has taken me a few months to calm down, and remember why we’re all here – the words of wisdom of a carpenter’s son.

    We all are responsible only for our own actions. True, we have to be involved in larger groups, but at the end of the day, we are responsible for what we do. Not what others do.

    I feel guilty that there are still women out there still being hurt, there are still children out there being abused. It makes me furious with those smug brutes in the GB.

    But I have comforted myself in the fact that I’m doing all I can right now to change that. I hope to do more in the future.

    We must comfort ourselves in the fact that we are doing what is right, not what is easy.

    I genuinely applaud all of you who help to expose these horrific people, and that goes double for Mr. Cedars.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

    • January 11, 2014 at 7:44 pm
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      I get the impression that only some JWs officially leave the outfit, via a letter of disassociation or by being excommunicated.

      It is almost certain, therefore, that the numbers of JWs published in the Yearbook includes a vast number of inactive and fading members as well as those who continue to make nominal appearances for the sake of family and community.

      Whereas, say, the Church of England may take comfort from surveys which show a decline in baptisms and church attendance by pointing out the relatively large numbers who still believe in the Christian God, there cannot be any believers in the ever changing vile nonsense of JWdom who do not manifest that belief by turning up at the Kingdom Hall and doing the mag. pushing, door knocking rounds.

  • January 11, 2014 at 8:58 pm
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    Sorry, Cedars- I wrote my last comment before reading your reply. Therefore the 8 million can only include those who make at least a nominal effort to appear as active JWs. It is the business of belief which cannot, of course, be measured. Ex JW sites are, however, full of messages from JWs and ex JWs who continue to act the JW part, despite having concluded that JWdom is not God’s org., and that the Armageddon nonsense is merely a frightener for control purposes. They continue with the JW act simply for the sake of not losing friends and family, as a consequence of the cruel shunning edicts.

  • January 12, 2014 at 1:43 am
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    The message still comes loud and clear through that yearbook: DO MORE! If you’re not suffering, you’re not doing enough. If you are suffering, you are not doing enough either. Do MORE!

  • January 12, 2014 at 3:59 am
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    Great article, Cedars. “It seems being a policeman and arresting bad guys also features on the long list of things that make Jehovah sad.”

    And this rejoices Jehovah:

    (Numbers 25:8-11) . . .he went after the man of Israel into the vaulted tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman through her genital parts. At that the scourge was halted from upon the sons of Israel. … Then Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying: 11 “Phin′e·has the son of El·e·a′zar the son of Aaron the priest has turned back my wrath from upon the sons of Israel by his tolerating no rivalry at all toward me in the midst of them, so that I have not exterminated the sons of Israel in my insistence on exclusive devotion. . .

  • January 12, 2014 at 4:22 am
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    Cedars,

    Thanks for the research! I enjoy reading your columns. As an active yet somewhat doubting jdub one of the things that has always impressed me about our organization is that there are no paid executives. Nobody is getting rich personally off of the religion. Is there any evidence to the contrary?

    • January 12, 2014 at 5:19 am
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      And how typical is ‘George’, in his own words, ‘an active yet doubting JDub’?

      Maybe only a relatively small proportion of the 8 million trumpeted by the Yearbook are true believers in the exclusive divine appointment of the self righteous controlling old farts who make up the WT Gov. Bod.

      Like the Orthodox Jews who make life difficult, to the point of shunning, any who ‘marry out’ and the Roman Catholics who build into their marriage vows, even for those who marry Prots. or atheists, a promise to rear the kids in the Roman faith, the JWs make every effort to ‘breed their own’.

      With the non stop door knocking by all and sundry, the number of outsiders ensnared into JW baptism racket must indeed be pathetically, but mercifully, minute.

    • January 12, 2014 at 5:25 am
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      Hello George

      Welcome to this site, and thanks for your comment!

      I’m sure you can understand that not all nefarious motives need to be directly money-related. The Governing Body, for example, have everything to gain from perpetuating the organization whether its teachings are true or not. They live like rockstars, flying around the world to applause and reverence wherever they go, and enjoy a luxurious carefree lifestyle that must be like living in a five-star hotel 24/7. They may not be “paid executives” in the strictest sense, but they are certainly rewarded handsomely (and materially) for their positions.

  • January 12, 2014 at 5:34 am
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    Yes, I remember as a child when the circuit overseer was coming, people were organised to have them over for lunch and dinner and it was always the people who could afford that bit extra that had them over, so they could be “appreciated”. Nothing wrong with appreciation, but they then live in a special ranked environment. They are not domestics or expected to do anything but are usually waited upon. I know that is hospitality, but give me a break, would it not be better to pay people a decent salary and the guilt and favour pressure could be removed. They cannot do that however, because its only through guilt and favour that the operation can maintain control. When people have good self esteem, they do not want to be locked into such a system and leave.

  • January 12, 2014 at 5:43 am
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    Same message, same lies. 100 years of lies!!!

  • January 12, 2014 at 5:56 am
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    Cedars, I had the same question George raised and I was thinking about mentioning it.

    Let me still respectfully state that I would partly disagree. I have been working for quite some time in the similar “luxury” environment and got quite rapidly tired of it, and I’m only in my 40’s. If THAT is the material benefit, it’s not a strong enough argument.

    Without a personal advantage “aside”, they are nothing without their attachment to the organization from a material point of view. Unless proven they accumulate funds for themselves, or that they earn huge salaries, the material advantage might not be a valid argument.

    But, if the influence on people, or rather “power” on them is mentioned as an argument, it could be a more valid basis for discussion, in my humble opinion.

    This is why, I must admit I can’t really understand the arguments concerning money and the organization. If there is no evidence that anyone in the WTBTS is putting money into their pockets and if they are using it all for the activities of the organization (of course how wisely, it can be a matter of discussion), then I don’t see an issue.

    On the other hand, some article I came across lately explaining people how to donate in different ways to the organization wasn’t really of good taste for me.

    Anyway, I just wanted to voice a feeling of mine regarding any “money matters”. I’m not unconditionally taking sides, but although on many other matters the issues seem to be evident, I must admit I fail to see the issues on this particular point.

    Cheers

  • January 12, 2014 at 6:10 am
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    JB, I see your point. I have uncovered no evidence of any in the organisation taking money from the poor box, as it were.

    I also agree that it is the use to which that money is put that we need to debate.

    However, I also agree with Cedars’ point that the senior people, the Governing Body, who claim to be domestics, are kept in a wonderful standard of living by the labour and contributions of others. Do any of them have a job to pay their own way, like Saul of Tarsus did?

    They do indeed fly around the world, and I should imagine that there are cars and clothes and apartments and three square meals a day too. All paid for by the rank and file witnesses. These folks are dissuaded from seeking further education, and, with a few exceptions, are at the lower end of earnings in the worst recession in living memory.

    And still the metaphorical poor box is rattled under their noses, despite their God promising to provide all their needs.

    It would be very interesting to calculate just how much it costs to pay for these 8 “servants”.

    Why should so many millions of dollars be spent on producing literature and other things that perpetuate so many wrong teachings?

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • January 12, 2014 at 6:14 am
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    Cedars

    I haven’t overlook anything. A matter of FACT, my point is and it is a FACT and this is there is GROWTH going on!

  • January 12, 2014 at 6:21 am
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    Joshua

    I’m surpise that you overlook about lands that Zero and negative growth. If you look closely at the numbers of these lands of 2012 & 2013, then you would have to look of those who who have died, moved, and the amount of population in that land too. All of these does play a role of growth in those lands.

    I’m suprised that Cedar didn’t tell that you overlook all of this!!

    • January 12, 2014 at 6:47 am
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      I agree, Fred. There is a scintilla of growth, more’s the tragedy. To rejoice that even just a few more people are persuaded to fritter away their lives as unpaid mag. distributors for a corrupt global publishing corporation, betrays a mind pathetically misled.

      Never has any JW ever submitted any evidence to connect the JW Gov. Bod. with ‘The Faithful and Discreet Slave’ as referred to by Jesus in Matt. 24.

      The reason is simple – there is no evidence.

      Without evidence, the entire authority of the JW bosses evaporates at a stroke.

      Why, Fred Hall, do you take pleasure from the growth, albeit pitifully small, of an organisation founded on lies?

    • January 13, 2014 at 12:06 pm
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      Please, Fred Hall, will you be decent enough to answer repeated questions. You seem to like the idea that there is growth in a an organisation whose track record is a litany of negatives.

      Apart from duff prophecy, outrageous and unevidenced claims about divine appointment, restricted lives through frowning on education, split families through shunning, nightmares about the Armageddon myth, social isolation through slagging off of celebrations like birthdays and Christmas, protection of pedophiles and unnecessary deaths through the ever changing blood edicts, the JW outfit has contributed nothing to humanity in its 135 year history.

      Please explain why you support it. Have we missed any positive achievements? Do you simply hate humanity so much that you revel in the fantasy of the imminent divine murder of most of us?

      You come on here, apparently, to support a foul and disgusting little cult. Please explain your motives.

  • January 12, 2014 at 6:59 am
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    Hi Fred,
    After I stopped being a witness I worked in International development for over 25 years. (I put myself through university first). I worked in Russia, Sierra Leone and many other places across the world. Some of the things they had in common were poverty and a desperate desire for quick answers. In Russia there was a high level of education and it was only the outlying places that JW’s were able to penetrate, because of the level of need (extreme poverty and poor education). People would take solace in anything that they thought would help. I worked in Sierra Leone after the war. There were all sorts of religious groups trying to get in to “help”.
    The so called growth of JW’s takes place in these places, because people will believe most things if they think it will help. JW numbers are decreasing in places where the economy is stabilising and education is increasing. Sadly Africans are having added to their burden false hopes from “well meaning missionaries” who come offering their god, when what is really needed is empowerment, tools, equipment and skills, along with an equalisation of wealth. Now if JW’s spent some of their wealth on enabling people to grow their own food and to have clean water, then that would be a real blessing. As it is what they bring, is fear, shame and delusion.

  • January 12, 2014 at 7:25 am
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    I also wanted to share some thoughts on volunteering : Such a concept, in a generic sense, is not unique to WTBTS. For social activities, sport associations, etc, participation to the work without pay is quite common. Also, if someone feels happy doing some work for, in his own view, a good cause, I think eventually it’s only a good thing for him.

    Of course, going as far as offering his own employment would be at the discretion of the volunteer :-)

    My point is, again, the main issue would be about the financial result of these operations and whether or not it profits to specific people directly. If all this only allows saving funds for the activities (and not specific peoples’ pockets) and it’s really volunteering (and not “kindly” pushing people towards it) I can’t really see an issue.

    Of course, linked to this, if this save allows a GB member to travel first class and stay at five star hotels without specific justification for such a “need” then this would raise grave questions in my mind indeed.

    I think I worked on a building work only once many years ago. I may be wrong with my comments above, and may ignore details throughout the recent years on this matter. If this is the case I would be more than happy to find out details I may ignore.

  • January 12, 2014 at 7:47 am
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    Excelsior, you definitely have a point. It would be more homogenous if everyone had “regular” activities to cater for their needs and in addition, assume further responsibilities, if they have to. This would make the “dedication” much more genuine.

    And the point you mentioned about people being encouraged regarding their education choices is quite a bitter point for me too.

  • January 12, 2014 at 7:58 am
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    Fred Hall,

    There is growth. Yes, you are right. But the growth is pitifully small when compared to the number of hours that the publishers dedicate to the “ministry”.

    Also, growth in numbers would be a pretty good indication that the GB were who they claim to be – directly chosen servants of Jesus. So, how do we interpret this anaemic growth year on year?

    Jesus was supposed to give his soul in exchange for many. Is 8 million or so many when the population is around 7 billion?

    Can Armageddon be “just around the corner” when so many billions have yet to hear the message?

    I would expect the most perfect representation of original Christianity to be attracting more growth than that!

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • January 12, 2014 at 9:25 am
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    Sue, you are right!

    On page 146 you find something like “From Child Soldier to Regular Pioneer” “I WAS 16 years old when rebel soldiers forced me to join their army. They supplied me with drugs and alcohol, and I often fought in a drug-crazed state. I fought many battles
    and committed terrible atrocities…I desperately wanted spiritual help. I attended Pentecostal meetings, but the church members called me the Satan in their midst…”

    The boy who “committed terrible atrocities” grew up to become “regular pioneer” and now used in a more terrible war: Theocratic war
    He tried to attend meetings where he felt he was called Satan, but now he attend meetings joining “brothers and sisters” to call other religions and those who leave the JWs “Seeds of Satan”!!

    A vicious cycles of traumatic experiences coupled with poverty, poor education, … makes the man VULNERABLE to JWs teachings, now a slave and prisoner of the Watchtower with may be a hope to rule with Christ in heaven (anointed) or if an”other sheep”, he longs for the day of vengeance where now it will be the turn of Jehovah, his god, to commit “terrible atrocities”!!

    • January 12, 2014 at 9:45 am
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      Will Fred Hall please explain why he looks forward to the day when his Jehovah monster murders the bulk of his fellow humans for the crime of not being under the influence of a bunch of old men in New York State?

      Perhaps he could also explain his allegiance to an organisation whose entire track record consists not only of duff prophecy, but a murderous and ever changing blood policy, a family wrecking shunning rule, a paedophile protecting edict and a condemnatory attitude towards education, once the ability to read and parrot JW Lit. has been acquired.

      Come on, Fred Hall. You clearly read Cedars’ blog. You must realise your cult is indefensible, and offers nothing beyond the opportunity to invest money and free labour towards increasing the capital value of a global publishing and property corporation.

      You look forward to the day God murders us at Armageddon. You have a duty to explain why you look forward to this mass carnage!

      Explanation please!

  • January 12, 2014 at 12:58 pm
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    (Hebrews 9:22) . . .Yes, nearly all things are cleansed with blood according to the Law, and unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place.
    (Psalm 58:10) . . .The righteous one will rejoice because he has beheld the vengeance. His steps he will bathe in the blood of the wicked one.
    JWs are eager to have “bathe in the blood” as all things including them, are cleansed with blood according to the Law!! Which Law is that?

    • January 12, 2014 at 1:06 pm
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      The Law that Jesus said he was come to fulfill.

      We are still waiting for Fred Hall to justify his support for, or indeed membership of, an organisation whose central obsession is looking forward to an orgy of mass murder.

      Answers please, Fred!

  • January 12, 2014 at 6:54 pm
    Permalink

    Yearbook count only includes those who are active in ministry activities — door to door.

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