Having grown up as a Jehovah’s Witness, I read my share of magazines written by the Watchtower Society in which they would vilify “Christendom” (other religions that claim to be Christian) for their wanton greed and shameless requests for money. Public sermons would be given on a fairly regular basis that would mock television preachers for brazenly asking for donations. These same sermons would also knock mainstream churches for the audacity to pass around a collection plate.
THEY (Jehovah’s Witnesses) were different. THEY didn’t ask for money. THEY didn’t make requests on TV. THEY didn’t pass around a collection plate. They claimed that because they didn’t do any of these things……..this proved that they were the only one and true religion……the ONLY religion that wasn’t greedy. Except…….that wasn’t exactly true.
While it IS true that they didn’t pass around a collection plate……they would ALWAYS make sure to mount a “contribution” box on the wall near the entry/exit to the building……making sure that each and every congregation member had to pass it at least twice. They would casually remind congregation members where the contribution boxes are located. Their publications would remind congregation members about how much “Jehovah” loves a cheeful giver. Hell, in the past 10 years, at least once per year, they will take a section of one of their magazines and dedicate it to showing faithfull JWs ALL the ways they can help out…..including but not limited to……leaving THEM as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy……..leaving THEM as the beneficiary of a trust……..deeding real estate to THEM……etc. They would give public sermons illustrating the importance of the story Jesus related about the old widow that gave two small coins as a donation at the temple. In that illustration, Jesus said “This woman gave far more than all others…..for they gave from their surplus while she game the only means of living she had.” Subtle hints have always been given.
And while it IS true that they never would say “please give money”, they would (at assemblies and conventions) make sure to announce every single time that there was a “shortfall” in the income vs expenditures at that particular convention, which would result in massive amounts of people running up to the donation boxes. Strangely enough……never is a detailed list of income and expenditures provided for open review. You are just expected to accept what they say. If you were to ask for an accounting, you STILL wouldn’t get one but what you WOULD receive is shame and reprimandation for daring to question.
You see, a clever money scheme doesn’t necessarily involve directly asking for money. Simply announcing that there is a “shortfall” can and will guilt obedient “sheep” into contributing more money. Simply saying from the platform that “Jehovah appreciates your willingness to contribute monetarily to the spreading of the good news” is a subliminal way of reminding those that haven’t dropped money in yet that NOW is the time. It reminds me of my brilliant niece and how she once approached the subject of going to the waterpark. She had been asking and asking and asking about when we were going. So I calmly said to her “I don’t you we will go. I just don’t know quite when yet. If you ask me again……we won’t go at all.” The following day she said, “Uncle Clint……I’m sorry….I just can’t remember…..did you tell me to remind you about the waterpark today? Oh….wait…..ummmm you told me NOT to bring it up again. Yeah….that’s it. I’m sorry to have bothered you.” I couldn’t help but smile. Touche, child. Touche. She managed to keep the idea of the waterpark in the forefront of my mind without directly reminding me and jeopardizing the trip by asking me again. THIS has always been the Jehovah’s Witness approach. In this way, they can still say “but we aren’t like all the other churches, because we don’t ask for money.”
But things have changed. They’ve changed A LOT. In the clip below, you will see a snippet from the monthly JW broacasting effort on the Jehovah’s Witnesses official website. In this video (aside from treating the viewers like they are children and aside from his horrifically stiff and planned out mannerisms) you will see JW governing body member, Stephen Lett, flat out telling the viewers that they have more money going out than what is coming in. And that he is sure that by making the viewers aware of the situation, they will respond with their generous hearts. . NEVER. NEVER have they, either in media form or in written form flat out admitted that they need money before.
But that’s not all! It gets even better! Check out the clip below. Caleb and Sophia are cartoon characters created by JW leadership. They star in propagandistic clip after clip (watched by JW children)…….indoctrinating children to mindlessly obey. In this clip we see Sophia with a small coin in her hands. She is at the kingdom hall (church) and looking forward to spending that coin on a double scoop of ice cream! But wait. She sees her mom putting money into the contribution box at the kingdom hall and she subsequently begins to think about all the literature that could be printed…..and all the kingdom hall than could be built if ONLY she would put give her money to the Watchtower organization instead! Try pausing the video on the 25 second mark. Focus on the genuine look of disappointment on her face as the guilt of what she thinks she NEEDS to do with her money begins to outweigh the contentment she had just seconds before when she was thinking about what she WANTED to do with her money. After just a few seconds, the mind control and indoctrination takes hold and the look of disappointment is replaced by one of determination. She deposits her money in the box and the video ends.
THIS is what my children watch when they are not with me. It serves as a reminder to them that not only do they need to accept all teachings and beliefs without question in order to approved by God, but they need to get in the habit……at a very young age…..of giving their money to the Watchtower Organization. Imagine how a child feels after watching this video. Imagine a JW child that really does want to buy an ice cream cone……or a new toy. What is he/she thinking after viewing this video? One of two things will happen. Either that child will feel pressured to donate his/her money to the organization, or he/she will still go ahead and spend the money on his/herself…….but with a cloud of guilt and shame overhead. Parents will say “don’t you want to be like Sophia? Don’t you want to make Jehovah happy? Is keeping that money all to youself selfish? Isn’t Satan selfish?” Etc. The child will wonder “what’s wrong with me? Am I selfish? Is God upset at me? If armageddon comes tomorrow…..will I die because I didn’t give to Jehovah?”
Leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses have done a masterful job of convincing their followers that by giving to the organization……they are in essence…..truly “giving to Jehovah”. Along the same line, whatever information comes from them is to be viewed by the flock as though it is coming from God. It’s clever…..and it’s insidious. They’ve managed to blur the line between God and themselves. If it is coming from the organization…..it is coming from God. The organization IS God. So by informing JWs, young and old, that more money is going out than is coming in…..and filling their heads with propagandistic media that infuses guilt for failure to donate…….they are successfully telling the sheep “God is telling you this…..not us!”
And yet at no point did either the lecture or the video say “Send us your money”. So what does this mean? They hinted. They insinuated. They harnessed and utilized guilt and emotional manipulation to get followers to respond en masse with “voluntary” donations. But technically they can still say “we’ve never asked for money”. Their delusion allows them to believe that, because of this technicality, their God still approves them as the only true messengers of Christianity.
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