JW.ORG FAQ – Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Assist With Disaster Relief?

In this edition of dissecting the dishonesty of the JW website, we’ll tackle the charitable actions (or lack thereof) of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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Please take a moment to notice the actual title of the FAQ.  Seems rather specific does it not?  How come they didn’t say “Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Charitably Involved in the Community?”  Or…….”Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Regularly Donate Time, Money and Resources to Help the Needy?”  The answer is because they don’t get involved in the community and they don’t regularly help the needy.  The only assistance they provide from a charitable standpoint is after a disaster……mainly because they receive highly discounted building materials…..and…..here’s the kicker…….the labor to help rebuilt is provided FREE OF CHARGE by individual Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The COST to the organization to provide help is minimal.  So when disaster strikes, they will help take care of their fellow brethren……and if the cameras are rolling and there is good PR to be had, leadership will THEN make sure the organization assists some non-JWs as well.  But……. what about other ways to help the needy?  Do they sponsor any orphanages?  Do they donate or raise money for the sick, homeless or hungry?  No.  Consider the quotes below taken directly from their publications:

Watchtower 2003 June 1 p.7 Giving That Pleases God
“When it comes to organized charity, though, we need to be cautious as we evaluate the many appeals we receive .There is a kind of giving that is even more important than charity. Jesus alluded to this when a rich young ruler asked what he had to do to get everlasting life. Jesus told him: “Go sell your belongings and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, and come be my follower.” (Matthew 19:16-22) Notice that Jesus did not just say, ‘Give to the poor and you will get life.’ Instead, he added, “Come be my follower.” In other words, as commendable and beneficial as charitable acts are, Christian discipleship involves more. Jesus’ chief interest was in helping others spiritually.”

Watchtower 1969 May 1 p.280
“If there is any material giving, to charities for instance, it is because there is need to salve a conscience, or because one’s reputation is at stake.”

These publications give you a pretty good idea of where they stand in regard to humanitarian efforts.  They don’t forbid individual JWs from donating time or money to charities…..but it is most certainly not encouraged.  In fact, the general consensus is that donating one’s time and money to a charity is DISLOYAL to God!  They believe that any second now, God is going to bring about Armageddon and when he does, Jehovah’s Witnesses will be saved and they will live forever on the earth.  Therefore, any time and money spent trying to assist the needy is not only a waste (because Armageddon is coming soon anyways), it is actually proof of lack of faith in the teachings of their leadership!  If you truly believe “the end” is just around the corner, then you should want to spend your time preaching in lieu of trying to fix a broken system through charitable efforts.  In fact, the question may very well be asked of you…..”Why are you putting your trust in noble men?  The bible warns against that.  You should be putting your trust in Jehovah’s Organization”.  This exact question was asked of me. 

In fact, donating one’s time to charitable causes literally can get you in trouble if you’re a JW.  I know because I went through it.  When I got my first job out of college (yes…..I rebelliously went to college), one of the pre-requisites was that I had to be charitably involved in my community.  Up until that point I had NEVER done ANYTHING charitable because of what I just mentioned one paragraph above.  Being completely under the control of Jehovah’s Witness leadership……naturally I had to go and ask the congregation elders if becoming charitably involved was ok.  I was instructed to look up publications such as the ones listed above to find out what my conscience should allow me to do.  (Think about how that sounds for a minute.  I had to read JW publications in order to find out if MY CONSCIENCE should bother me for HELPING PEOPLE!  Here is an important note to anyone reading this.  ANY TIME you need to rely on a written publication to tell you what you should think or what your conscience should know……….it is no longer YOUR conscience or YOUR thoughts making the decision) 

After a couple of discussions with two different elders, it was determined that I could go ahead and get involved charitably in the community under 2 conditions:  1 – I shouldn’t openly discuss it with other Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Since volunteering one’s time for a charity is considered to be “unnecessary association” with those outside the faith, I could “stumble” another witness if they were to hear me brazenly talking about it.  (Again.  Think about how that sounds.  The fear was that others might be “stumbled” because I was going to be volunteering my time and money to help out in the community).  2 – I needed to make sure that whatever charitable cause I chose had absolutely NO connections to anything objectionable.  What might be objectionable?  YMCA.  Young Men’s CHRISTIAN Association.  They view all other religions (including different versions of Christianity) to be false and lead by the devil.  Therefore, support of the YMCA would be willfully supporting false religion, and by connection…..willfully supporting the devil.  It is actually an offense that could result in disfellowshipping.  United Way.  Because the United Way at one time had ties to the Catholic Church (at least that was the belief).  The Muncie Mission.  Because the executive director also was the head pastor at the associated church.  Etc. Etc.  So as a Jehovah’s Witness, I was “free” to become charitably involved so long as I 1) understood that the organization and therefore God was not in support of my decision 2) I kept it quiet and 3) I chose an organization that does not and has never had any affiliations with any other religion or Christian network.  Can you feel the Christ-like love? 

If you are curious, ask the next Jehovah’s Witness you meet what types of PERSONAL charitable efforts they give. I stress the word PERSONAL because they will attempt to direct you to their website and say “See? Jehovah’s Witnesses assist with disaster relief!” But your response should be, “no…..what do YOU do personally in your local community to help out those in need?” I lived in a city (Muncie, IN) that had two congregations. I can count on one finger the number of active Jehovah’s Witnesses that were engaged in efforts to help the needy in their community.

Another question to as would be “but what PROACTIVE work do Jehovah’s Witnesses do from a charitable standpoint? Everything mentioned always seems to be REACTIVE and only after disaster strikes. Could it be because THAT is when news crews are on the move and cameras are rolling?” It is hard to get the general public to notice when you are quietly giving back to your community proactively. But it is easy to get good press after a local disaster.

Again, it isn’t shocking that they specifically titled this FAQ the way they did.  Doing so allows them to answer “yes” while giving the illusion to innocent 3rd parties that they are a charitably driven organization.

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