A JWsurvey reader has been left scratching his head after receiving two separate and conflicting answers to his question from Watchtower’s London headquarters.
His initial letter, sent on November 6th, asked the simple question: “Could you please tell me if my contributions are being used to pay for the court cases that are currently taking place? This concerns me greatly.”
Watchtower’s first reply, dated November 18th under the letterhead “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” was surprisingly candid. It stated: “We are not sure whether you have any particular court cases in mind. However, we can certainly confirm that donations to the worldwide work will be used from time to time to pay for legal representation in various courts.”
It is worth noting that Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain freely admits to sending millions of pounds worth of donations overseas “to assist with the running of administrative facilities and missionary activity.”
The November 18th letter went on to claim that legal battles being fought by Watchtower “on a number of fronts” are “entirely what we expect, in harmony with Bible prophecy,” citing Matthew 10:17,18 (a scripture that seems to have slipped Gerrit Lösch’s mind when he refused to give testimony in the Jose Lopez case) as its authority.
But in a further twist, Watchtower has since sent another reply to the letter, dated November 26th, with a different letterhead (“Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain”) and a far more formal tone.
“It was not clear from your correspondence exactly what you had in mind,” it states. “However, as a registered charity we are obliged to use all donations in furtherance of the Objects set out in our Memorandum of Association, which are summarised as: ‘…to administer the organization, assemblies, education, public religious worship, and activities in and from Britain of the body of Christian persons known as Jehovah’s Witnesses…’ and we are pleased to confirm that we do so. Our annual accounts are independently audited to ensure that we comply with our responsibilities and stated purposes. We trust that this will answer your enquiry.”
The trouble with this latest answer is that it conflicts with the previous one. Why? Because damages awarded against Watchtower in child sex abuse cases such as those of Candace Conti and Jose Lopez would appear to meet none of the criteria for spending donations that are outlined in Watchtower’s documents for the Charity Commission.
And yet in the previous letter, Watchtower conceded that it uses “donations to the worldwide work… for legal representation in various courts.”
My source tells me that he will be writing a further letter to Watchtower asking them which one of the two letters he is to take as their final answer. When, and if, such clarification is received, I will of course add it as an update to this article.
In the meantime, the fact that Watchtower cannot give a straight answer to such a simple question without backtracking is extremely telling, especially given the increasing exposure of child abuse mishandling and the scrutiny the organization is already receiving at present from the Charity Commission.