The November, 2020, Watchtower urges JW’s to accept counsel and be readjusted. That’s fine —except the counsel they give is steeped in hypocrisy. Paragraph 14 claims that the Governing Body relies on God’s holy spirit. That may have been true in the past. But why even mention it? Shouldn’t we all rely on God’s spirit when making decisions, especially when our decisions may impact others negatively? Now paragraph 15:
No doubt, we readily follow the Bible-based direction we receive regarding doctrinal or moral matters. But how do we react when God’s organization makes a change that affects other aspects of our life? For example, in recent years the cost of building and maintaining places of worship has increased dramatically. So the Governing Body has directed that Kingdom Halls be used to capacity. As a result of this adjustment, congregations have been merged and some Kingdom Halls have been sold. The funds are being used to help build halls in areas that need them the most. If you live in an area where halls are being sold and congregations are being merged, you may find it a challenge to adapt to the new circumstances. Some publishers now have to travel farther to attend meetings. Others who worked hard to build or maintain a Kingdom Hall may wonder why that hall is now being sold. They may feel that their time and effort were wasted. Still, they are cooperating with this new arrangement and should be commended.
First, please notice the sly manner in which the Watchtower packages their business decision as “Bible-based direction” on par with scripturally supported doctrinal and moral matters —except there is no Bible reference made. The implication is whatever we say is “Bible-based direction,” even if we do not cite anything in the Bible as our authority. So, the real question for Jehovah’s Witnesses is, how will you react when the Watchtower arbitrarily makes changes that impact entire congregations while claiming it does so by divine authority?
Also, please take note of the flimflam reasoning. “The cost of building and maintaining places of worship has increased,” they state. Surely, no thinking person will equate the cost of building and the cost of maintaining. Building a structure costs much more than merely maintaining it. Since that is true, why shutter and sell facilities and then turn around and build more? Not only that, hundreds of kingdom halls have been closed and remain empty waiting for a buyer. Some have been shuttered for years. How does that benefit JW’s that are in need of a kingdom hall? It doesn’t benefit anyone. Meanwhile, evicted congregants are herded off —some being forced to drive 50 or more miles to attend meetings.
The Watchtower implies that increased costs have impacted it. The fact is, the local congregations bear all of the costs of both building and maintaining kingdom halls. If maintenance costs increase the local brothers and sisters take care of the expense. It is not even a matter for the princes of Bethel to concern themselves with. To put a finer point on it, it is none of their business. But of course, the temple money-changers and sellers of real estate have made it their business —literally.
The Watchtower claims that they are dispossessing some congregations and using the funds to benefit other congregations. But why is that even their decision? Shouldn’t the brothers and sisters who donated their precious time, labor, and resources to the construction and maintenance of a kingdom hall in their community have some say in the matter? Paragraph 16 continues:
We will maintain our joy if we remember that we are working for Jehovah and that he is directing his organization. King David set a good example when donating funds to build the temple. He said: “Who am I and who are my people that we should be in a position to make voluntary offerings like this? For everything is from you, and we have given to you what comes from your own hand.” When we donate funds, we too are giving to Jehovah what has come from his own hand. Even so, Jehovah appreciates the time, energy, and resources that we donate to support the work he wants done. —2 Cor. 9:7.
The paragraph cites 2 Corinthians 9:7, which states that Jehovah loves a cheerful giver; however, are the brothers and sisters who have been booted from the nearly 1,000 kingdom halls the Watchtower has put on the market really giving, cheerfully or otherwise? Obviously, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not giving. The Watchtower is taking. There’s a big difference.
This is how the kingdom con artists wrap their thievery up as “Bible-based direction.” Take note of their biblical example. David referred to his “voluntary offerings.” Are Jehovah’s Witnesses making a voluntary offering? If so, why has the Governing Body seen fit to publish this article in the first place? Evidently, some brothers are not being so cheerful.
Since the local brothers and sisters have not been allowed to give of their own volition, essentially they are being commended for not grumbling about the Watchtower defrauding and dispossessing them.
It gets worse. It is not just Jehovah’s Witnesses who are being robbed. Every kingdom hall has been solemnly dedicated to Jehovah. When something is dedicated to God that means He is given ownership. Is not that the case when Jehovah’s Witnesses dedicate themselves to God and submit to baptism? Our dedication means we are giving God a controlling interest in our lives. We cannot un-dedicate ourselves without consequences. It is no different with dedicated houses of worship. Jesus condemned the marketeers for turning the house of his Father into a merchandise mall. The particulars may be different but the principle is the same.
It is reasonable for some dedicated facilities to be closed. Some kingdom halls may be in deteriorating ghettos or dangerous war-torn areas. Some may simply be worn out structurally. But that does not appear to be the case with the kingdom halls the Watchtower is flipping. Many of them are in excellent condition in nice suburban neighborhoods. It would seem that is why they are being sold because they can fetch top dollar on the market.
But here is the problem: how does the Governing Body go about ascertaining if they have Jehovah’s permission to flip a facility that has been dedicated to Him? The GB boasts that they always follow the direction of the holy spirit when making decisions. By what method were they able to discern that Almighty God approves of their scheme?
While we are considering Bible-based examples of men in positions of authority who disrespected God and lost his favor, the article cites Saul for his failure to execute Agag and destroy everything that had been devoted to destruction by Almighty God. And this example is supposed to move JW’s to obey the GB?
Saul was anointed as the first king of Israel. He was not a commoner. Saul tried to justify his apostasy, telling Samuel that the reason he did not devote everything to destruction is because he wanted to spare the best animals to sacrifice to Jehovah. He just took a few liberties that seemed warranted and he did it all for Jehovah. How very theocratic of him!
Of note, something devoted to destruction meant that it belonged to God. No one could countermand Him and spare something —no matter the rationalization. Something devoted to destruction was dedicated to God —just like every kingdom hall, branch office, and assembly hall is dedicated to God as his property.
How like Saul the Governing Body has become. They rationalize taking something that has been dedicated to God because they intend to use it to benefit others. They even claim that their taking what belongs to God is under the guidance of the holy spirit. After all, they are Jehovah’s organization. Whatever they do has God’s approval.
When the enraged Samuel confronted Saul the king said: “May Jehovah bless you. I have carried out the word of Jehovah.” Just like Saul, the Governing Body claims to be carrying out the word of Jehovah. In the paragraph above they imply that their real estate wheeling and dealing is in support of the work God wants to be done. Outrageously, they even confer Jehovah’s blessing and commend those whom they have defrauded for their generous donation!
Samuel’s rebuke of the apostate king is most appropriate for the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses: “Does Jehovah take as much pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Look! To obey is better than a sacrifice, and to pay attention than the fat of rams; for rebelliousness is the same as the sin of divination, and pushing ahead presumptuously the same as using magical power and idolatry.” —1 Samuel 15:22-23
List of kingdom halls Watchtower Property Sales Tracking (Clean Data)