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Watchtower Society and Donations

January 12th, 2002 Leave a comment Go to comments

The WTS has often criticized other churches for passing collection plates during meetings. Other fundraising efforts have also been repeatedly condemned before 1990. After this year the criticism stopped and the WTS began to openly solicit donations.

(B J Kotwall; INVESTIGATOR MAGAZINE No. 73  2000 July pp. 48-51)  

The Watchtower Society (WTS) has often criticized other churches for passing collection plates during meetings. Churches that organize bingo, party games and other fund-raising efforts have also been repeatedly condemned. At the same time the WTS has emphasized that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not solicit donations! Comments like the following were common in WTS publications like The Watchtower (WT) and Awake! before 1990.

 w1987 12/1 30-31
‘Where do such funds come from?’ is an often-asked question. Unlike the churches of Christendom, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not take up collections or send out envelopes to solicit donations. Rather, contribution boxes—like the treasury chests of Biblical times—are set up at their Kingdom Halls.

  g1975 9/8 26
…is it not a comfort for them to know that in the local congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses they will never be tithed to pay out a percentage of their income? Nor will unscriptural money-raising schemes be imposed on them. It is at the Kingdom Hall that an unobtrusive contribution box is located for use by those who wish voluntarily to give money to support the work of the congregation. Donations mailed to the headquarters of the Watch Tower Society are also unsolicited and entirely voluntary.

  w1974 9/15 559
The Kingdom Halls of this happy group are open to you and you may attend free of charge, without having to suffer embarrassment by a request for contributions or the passing of a collection plate.

  w1971 8/15 506
The emphasis in all giving among the Witnesses is that it must be voluntary and spontaneous, from the heart. In fact, ever since the earliest days of the modern witnesses of Jehovah it has been their policy that never should there be any passing of collection plates or similar solicitations for money.

  w1962 5/1 278  How May I Contribute?
Jehovah’s witnesses have never gone begging for finances.

  Boasts like the above stopped after 1990. Why? Because the WTS began to openly solicit donations not only from its own people but also door to door from the public—and not only on Sundays but every day!  How did this happen?

The California Board of Equalization wanted to assess sales tax on the sale of books, tapes and other items by the Jimmy Swaggart ministry. The WTS filed amicus curiae (a friend of the court legal brief) in support of Swaggart’s stance that a religious organization should be exempt from such taxation.  (The WTS considers all other religions to be under the influence of the devil, but in this case it joined hands with the devil!). On January 17, 1990 the Supreme Court in California Board of Equalization vs. Jimmy Swaggart Ministries ruled against Swaggart.
One month after the Supreme Court ruling the WTS announced a new policy—that in the USA its literature which was heretofore sold at a fixed price should be offered free to the public and a donation solicited.

  The WTS introduced this new donations policy evidently to avoid tax on the sale of its publications. Asking for donations – something condemned for a century – had become acceptable.

  Moreover, detailed appeals for donations appeared in WTS publications. Notice how no avenue is left uncovered:

  How Some Make Donations to the Kingdom-Preaching Work

  • CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLDWIDE WORK: Many set aside or budget an amount that they place in the contribution boxes labeled: “Contributions for the Society’s Worldwide Work—Matthew 24:14.” Each month congregations forward these amounts either to the world headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, or to the nearest branch office.

  • GIFTS: Voluntary donations of money may be sent directly to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201-2483, or to the Society’s office that serves your country. Jewelry or other valuables may also be donated. A brief letter stating that such is an outright gift should accompany these contributions.

  • CONDITIONAL-DONATION ARRANGEMENT: Money may be given to the Watch Tower Society to be held in trust until the donor’s death, with the provision that in the case of personal need, it will be returned to the donor.

  • INSURANCE: The Watch Tower Society may be named as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or in a retirement/pension plan. The Society should be informed of any such arrangement.

  • BANK ACCOUNTS: Bank accounts, certificates of deposit, or individual retirement accounts may be placed in trust for or made payable on death to the Watch Tower Society, in accord with local bank requirements. The Society should be informed of any such arrangements.

  • STOCKS AND BONDS: Stocks and bonds may be donated to the Watch Tower Society either as an outright gift or under an arrangement whereby the income continues to be paid to the donor.

  • REAL ESTATE: Salable real estate may be donated to the Watch Tower Society either by making an outright gift or by reserving a life estate to the donor, who can continue to live therein during his or her lifetime. One should contact the Society before deeding any real estate to the Society.

  • WILLS AND TRUSTS: Property or money may be bequeathed to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania by means of a legally executed will, or the Society may be named as a beneficiary of a trust agreement. A trust benefiting a religious organization may provide certain tax advantages. A copy of the will or trust agreement should be sent to the Society.

  • PLANNED GIVING: The Society has assembled information on “Planned Giving.” Those who are planning to make a special gift to the Society now or to leave a bequest at death may find this information helpful. That is especially true if they wish to accomplish some family goal or estate-planning objective while using tax benefits to minimize the cost of the gift or bequest. This information can be obtained by writing to the Society at the address shown below.
(The Watchtower 1994 12/1 page 19)

  With shameless appeals like this, one wonders how the WTS could ever have chided other churches! And one wonders how many JWs have willed their few possessions to the multi-billion dollar WTS while leaving their own dependents stranded.
A further point is that 6 million JWs donate their time to distribute WTS publications door to door in what is called “field service” or “witnessing” or “ministry”. This activity is said to be “voluntary” but the teaching is that JWs who don’t do it will be executed by God at Armageddon.  JWs who regularly miss field service for entire months also face ostracism in their congregation and – if they try to justify their slackness – excommunication.

  Despite WTS writers often implying that the main source of funding is “contribution boxes” in Kingdom Halls, most comes from the efforts of six million JWs who trudge the streets and knock on doors to offer WTS literature.

  Furthermore, these same JWs are obliged to buy personal copies of all magazines and books the WTS puts out. The WTS has millions of captive buyers expected to purchase the publications without even looking at the contents!

  The WTS produces its literature at minimal cost. Materials are bought in bulk and every step in production is by “volunteers”.

  Whereas free-literature-for-donations came into force in the USA in 1990, it came into effect in Australia from January 1, 2000.  Apparently, the Goods and Services Tax, effective in Australia from July 1, 2000, was the catalyst.

Categories: Watchtower & Money
  1. Delieta Bookout
    April 14th, 2014 at 14:56 | #1

    Read all the comments that say jehova witness does not ask for donations,just this past week a witness with the overseers wife brought me a bible and did ask me to make a donation.So yes thay do ask for donations.

  2. Healthy dose
    March 17th, 2013 at 11:26 | #2

    @GG.. TOTAL CULT… They cultivate you so your willing to lay your life down for them and drink the coolaid. All thinking your doing that stuff for God, but the top knows your doing it to line their pockets.

  3. Healthy dose
    March 17th, 2013 at 11:22 | #3

    They don’t need to ask, once slowly endoctrinated and brain washed you will gladly give what they want especially if your whole family and friends shun you or come give you talks and sit you down with elders and make you feel tiny if you don’t. You then go on ahead and give whatever just to avoid any feelings like that… Like scientology. And you don’t need to teach anyone about God to get into the kindom of heaven.

  4. doug
    February 11th, 2013 at 13:19 | #4

    @Cynthia Thomas healing; I agree 100% with you they never ask for money. the donation offered is to pay for the paper ,ink and postage.

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  7. Lucy
    March 12th, 2012 at 14:03 | #7

    On the financial statement of the British Jw, One of the main source of Jw.WTS income is printing revenue. It sells these printing materials as interco charges to a sister company, Internatl Bible Student. The doortodoor salemen/members in return buys the literature from IBS and distribute them freely.
    Could someone clarify on this??

  8. Chris Peterson
    March 8th, 2012 at 22:54 | #8

    I think you might be mistaken. That only refers to the “hundred and forty four thousand” in heaven,(Rev.14:1 who will be reigning with Jehovah God, and Jesus, over the earthly paradisaical, kingdom, (Mat6:10,Rev.21:3-5) which will be coming into order soon. But since the people on earth, who survive the the upcoming, extraordinary hardships, soon to take place,(Mat24:21,22) along with resurrected ones, will become healthy, and youthful again,(elderly)and no one will be old,(Isa33:24) then, it would seem reasonable to say that, multiplying, and becoming many, could still take place. (Gods original plan) I am not a J.W. either, but they really got me thinking about these things, including how they view money,(2Co 9:7 ,Zep 1:18)and always backing everything, with scripture. It fascinates me. There are some J.W.’s, whose personalities, I like better than others, but I guess that’s just the way it is anywhere.

  9. Marilyn
    February 16th, 2012 at 12:28 | #9

    If you plan to visit a kingdom hall to discover what it is all about you need to know that you are not allowed to question or challenge their teachings. Also, if you are female you are not allowed to wear slacks, just skirts or dresses. Pants are reserved for the men because they are the leaders! Seems pretty controlling to me. I am pretty sure Jesus never wore pants.

  10. Marilyn
    February 16th, 2012 at 12:20 | #10

    @Cynthia Thomas
    My mother was a JW and when she became I’ll she was visited semi-regularly by the JW’s who always left with a check Ian hand. When she was no longer able to write checks they stopped coming. My friend is now going through the same thing. Her mother is very elderly and has been too Ill TI attend meetings regularly. So the “brothers” are paying her visits and, guess what? They leave with a check!

  11. raphael
    October 30th, 2011 at 05:42 | #11

    To any new converts or one in the process of conversions first analyse the person & his teaching whether it is based on the truth of word of God (Bible).Like the people of Bereans received the message taught by paul with great eagerness but examined the scriptures everyday whether what he taught was true (truth) Acts 17;11. The first important to your notice first ask the person from which group or organization they are from even though they claim they are christian. Because Bible very clearly says wolves willcome in sheep clothing not only to steal(the truth)
    from you but also to Kill & destroy (your soul).Second most important after knowing which group they are into go through their HISTORY (who is the founder(true are false prophet), what kind of teaching are theirs, are they true religions or false (cults), how the people where affected through their doctrines).As a person daily
    going through a spiritual warfare to protect my family, my family members,,relations & friends from my one of our relative.(who where recently carried away with the false teaching of jehovah witnesses with out knowing any of the base which i have already mentioned above & now trying to mislead other to the same).The influence of the cult doctrine has now broken our family ties once sacred & dear.So my burden for the one who may come across this situation beware of what you were taught & you will not be misguided when you are aligned with truth(Jesus: I am the truth) & he shall set you free.-GOD BLESS

  12. raphael
    October 30th, 2011 at 03:53 | #12

    witnesses says they were not asked or forced for donations, but they are very well brain washed with their false doctrines to volunteer even to their final stage of
    selling their properties & working crazy for their organization.( according to their history background).

  13. Nora
    October 17th, 2011 at 00:08 | #13

    I am not a JW but my 92 year old dad is, he has not been healthy enough to attend meetings and was giving lots of money in an envelope to them thinking they were helping underprivaledged families and children, since he has become house bound they actually come to the house for their money, none of the congragation has even bothered to come visit with him, only to get his money. Iknow it’s my dads money and he can do whatever he wants with it but I think he is being taken advantage of. I witnessed it for myself today. How sick are they anyway taking this poor 92 year old for his money. Just saying….

  14. Markus
    June 29th, 2011 at 09:04 | #14

    @Babe Rainbow
    Yup I also left the cult 15 years ago, after being a dedicated JW for over 14 years.
    Felt a bit awkward at first, but now decided it is the best decision I ever made.

  15. Babe Rainbow
    June 25th, 2011 at 18:36 | #15

    Yes you’d think so….but hey….as someone on the other side of that door…..searching for the answers to ‘where are the dead?’ The JWs were a breath of fresh air….for 20 years I served the WTBTS…..
    and then when I really needed some guidance….hey presto…..the elders were pretty scarce…..no support at all…..I then thought, I came into this hoping for all the things I had been promised.
    But I never got it. So I thought, well if I’m meant to just trust Jehovah, I will do just that; trust in Jehovah minus the WTBTS…..so that’s where I am now. Back at the beginning……

  16. Markus
    June 25th, 2011 at 18:26 | #16

    @Babe Rainbow
    What you say is right on the money, if you will excuse the pun. One would think, and the key word is think, that they would at least do a bit of research as to how their so called ‘truth’ came about; before spending so much time door-knocking.

  17. Babe Rainbow
    June 25th, 2011 at 06:11 | #17

    Ah come on…wake p. The Watchtower Society is ALL about the money….Making people go out in the rain snow hail, with children in pushchairs, slipping on the ice and falling over. To get to a door that will take the magazines. The magazines that DO NOT tel the whole truth about what the governments are doing…especially the USA/UK. The WTS is worth 2 billion $$$$$……did Jesus have loads of big posh buildings in Manhatten? Worth millions of dollars? Did he ask for people to make magazines, explaining the Bible? Did Jesus say it was ok for the WTS to pay off victims of sexual and child abuse done by elders and other JWs, with money collected by JWs????? Was Judge Rutherford a ‘real’ judge? Was he a drunk????? You really need to do the research. JWs call their religion ‘the truth’ and yet they have no idea about the TRUTH of the WTS. JWs started by a salesman, at a time when religion was a good sale…..WTS is a business…..nothing more or nothing less. Making almost ONE BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR! Oh I forgot to mention, helped at the start with money from the Rothchilds (of the banking people)…..zionist jews who are killing children in Arab countries. WAKE UP Please. Oh and to add further, the WTS had shares in a weapons corporation, and it was a member of the United Nations library for 10 years, until the Guardian Newspaper ran an article about it and the WTS suddenly pulled out….they kept that one secret!!!!

  18. gg
    April 4th, 2011 at 21:44 | #18

    the society also does not have “slaves in their back room” that make all of their publications. these people volunteer. why do they do this? because they know that by teaching people about god he will repay them with everlasting life and happiness on earth

  19. gg
    April 4th, 2011 at 21:36 | #19

    just in case you dont know, the society does not hold a gun to your head and make you donate. they dont even ask for your money. all they say is that if you want to donate money you can. very simple . =)

  20. KJAR
    February 17th, 2011 at 01:04 | #20

    @OM’s Lawyer
    Oops. I was half asleep when I came upon this web site. I thought it was a Jehovah Witness-based Q and A site. You are obviously a full-out sceptic of any belief system, which I respect as you are not hesitant to speak your mind! You have the freedom to question or debate things, unlike members of groups like the JWs. Still, you may be fascinated by the study of the orthodox Christian view in light of JW theology. Yet, coming from the position of orthodox teachings, the thinking is that it’s easy to fall into error of non-essential teachings. It’s quite a feat to come to understand scripture in its proper context. The closer one comes to see context, the more things make sense.
    Someone who’s secure in their faith, is not afraid of criticism. This why I can’t understand why an outspoken, best-selling author (Richard Dawkins) whose purpose is to convince mankind that all who believe in God are delusional. He should be secure in his views, yet he refuses to debate fellow scientist Stephen Meyer, also a best-selling author of “The Signature in the Cell”, just because the data in his book (especially the code in the DNA which Bill Gates compared to “a computer code, except far more advanced then anything we have ever come up with”) points to the existance of a creative designer. On the otherhand, he hasn’t had any problem debating non-scientists such as television hosts, church ministers, etc. Stephen Meyer is secure enough in his position and has challenged Dawkins to a debate, yet Dawkins refuses (”he won’t debate creationists”) Then why debate Christian clergy? I think he’s afraid to take on a worthy challenger. What’s Richard Dawkins afraid of?

  21. KJAR
    February 14th, 2011 at 22:11 | #21

    When the Roman soldiers asked Jesus what they should do (Luke 3:14) why did Jesus say to not extort money, to not bear false witness, to be happy with their wages? Notice that he did not command them to drop their arms, desert the Roman army (guaranteed death penalty), do not partake in any wars under any curcumstances. Are JWs not allowed to join the police force? Their purpose is to uphold the law and as a last resort they may have to use weopons to protect an innocent person or themselves. Aren’t armies just a larger scale of a police force? If a country (like Germany in WWII) uses its army (national police force) in an illegal, aggressive fashion, a Christians responsibility would be to refuse at all costs. In the same way a Christian police officer would have to refuse to partake in any police corruption. Saying that Christians should refuse any participation in war irregardless the reason just doesn’t make sense to me.

  22. May 10th, 2010 at 02:36 | #22


    Hi Bonnie,

    Your question is: “I was wondering where to find in the Bible where it says marrying and giving in marriage will be no more after death and the resurrection.”

    My reply according to The Word of Jehovah, and no I am not a Jehovah’s Witness, Luke 20:34-36****Jesus replied, “marriage is for people here on earth. But that is not the way it will be in the age to come. for those worthy of being raised from the dead won’t be married then and they will never die again–in these respects they are like angels.” You may read the rest of the text if you like. I am beginning the process of a strict study of the Jehovah’s Witness belief system. Already, I have discovered by the leading of the Holy Spirit discrepancies, but that is not what I am seeking. I must know why they believe that they are the “True Christians” and all else are of the devil. I believe that their originator has somehow missed a few links with human reasoning, and if I am correct, many people are being led astray.

  23. Markus
    November 17th, 2009 at 06:27 | #23

    @Cynthia Thomas

    Yep funny how the WTBTS society is a multi-billion dollar operation. Got all it’s worker bees like you working for nothing selling mags that are largely bought amongst yourselves. Donations are not mandatory, but they are well received. I as a prominent businessman in my congregation, was asked how much I could afford to donate for our new kingdom hall. I donated a large sum and I know of others that gave more.
    How about all the last will and testament of elderly brainwashed witnesses.
    The Watchtower is a very well oiled money making machine.
    Don’t spew the crap that the JW organization is a non-profit organization. Read the Watchtower and Money section on this site. Do a google on Randal Watters (a former Bethelite working at headquarters printing dept.).

    You know for you to come on this site and say money makes the world go round but we are clean un-worldly folk is indicative of the typical JW ignorance.

    I would rather chuck a couple of bucks into a church collection basket any day.


  24. Cynthia Thomas
    November 16th, 2009 at 12:02 | #24

    MU aunt died and her minister never came to viist, because she did not pay for his v isit the elders in the Kingdom Hall will visit you you do not have to pay their members do not buy them homes or airplanes. You have to work in the system which you are given how do you propose that the Watchtower ask dor donations

  25. Cynthia Thomas
    November 16th, 2009 at 11:59 | #25

    This world is run by money why are you trying to slandet THe Jehovah Witneses. Most churches it is Mandatory that you give a donation< I have attended meetings and I WAS NEVER asked to make a donation the reality of this world is that you need money to pay for bills print literature. Yes they ask but they never make like yoou will burn in hell if you do not make a contribution.

  26. Anonymous
    February 15th, 2008 at 12:02 | #26

    If you ever study Social Influence and Brainwashing techniques you will see that even the most confident and intelligent people are at risk of being taken. Be careful.

  27. Anonymous
    February 15th, 2008 at 11:55 | #27

    Ouch! Now that is straight EVIL my friend. Enjoy watch others hurt, it will only hurt you in the end.

  28. Anonymous
    February 15th, 2008 at 11:50 | #28

    Yet again how do you save a loved one from their brainwashing? How could those who did love you show you they truly cared.

  29. freeatlast
    January 13th, 2008 at 14:49 | #29

    I spent thirty years with that Motley crew, all with 100% faith. I should have stayed Catholic, it was more free, hahah. The more research I do the more I am horrified at the hurt I caused my family and my sons especially. WHen I was a “Regualr Pioneer” friends were so many. Downtrodden with troubles, they leave faster than a sonic boom.

  30. James NON-JW
    December 25th, 2007 at 15:20 | #30

    As long as the questions are along the line of their limited intelligence and do not in any way question their lengthy track record of false prophecy.
    Just turn off your brain, give up your independence & individuality and allow them and their motley crew to run the show.

  31. Simon
    December 25th, 2007 at 13:46 | #31

    Hi Bonnie, If you genuinely need the answer to that question asked the next Witness that personaly comes to your door or visit the nearest Kingdom Hall for the next meeting time. This is usaully the best way to have any of your questions answered as you know it’s coming from a Witness not from another source.

  32. healing
    August 11th, 2007 at 04:02 | #32

    I implore you to consider this: Witnesses teach that one who defects and leaves the organization falls into spiritual darkness and the result is a life a debauchery and misery. If you believe that is what will happen to you, then it will. If you believe that you have the ability to make good decisions on your own and can control your future and be a good person, then you will. Your misery and unhappiness with your life has nothing to do with the fact that you left the religion. It has to do with the fact that you “think” you are lost without it. That’s because that is what the Witnesses want you to think. If you honestly feel that organization is what will make you happy, then by all means, take the steps necessary to get reinstated. However, if you have any doubts at all, or are struggling, you need to ask yourself if you are just trying to get back in order to fill a void, or because you haven’t yet figured out how to make it in the real world. Its taken me 5 years, but I’ve finally found my way and I will never ever go back.

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