As was pointed out in the article, The Watchtower Way of Laundering Money, their current donation arrangement is simply a gimmick to avoid paying sales tax on items sold in the United States and a few other countries where this arrangement has been utilized. (Some countries still have fixed prices for Watchtower literature).
Apparently, their recent significant drop in income, coupled with the failure of rank-and-file Witnesses to donate funds sufficient to their liking for materials received "free" has caused the Watchtower to make the following statement in the November 1996 issue (p.3) of their in-house bulletin entitled Our Kingdom Ministry:
It is interesting how they have even "raised the price" of a number of items! They appear be suggesting a donation of $50-100 for the CD-ROM instead of $25 to $50, and $40 for reference works such as Insight on the Scriptures. Since their costs of producing CD-ROMs could not exceed two dollars each (probably closer to $1), one wonders who they are trying to deceive.
One investigator sent in a donation to the Watchtower "equivalent to that once specified" for some literature, just to see what would happen. A letter, and an additional card was sent back. The letter was a "thank you" letter acknowleding a donation, but containing no hint as to any literature involved. But the card sent with it stated, "We are pleased to inform you that your request for Bible literature has been honored and will be mailed seperately." (See laundering.) Using this technique, the WT feels they are going to avoid legal complications. Time will tell as to whether the State of California decides to reopen the case with regards to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The following letter(s) illustrate the outworking of this policy.
I thought I'd tell you of an experience some years ago when I served as an elder in Jersey City, New Jersey, during the first month of the change from selling books to the "Voluntary Donation" system. It seemed everyone one and their mothers decided that now was a good time to stock their libraries. Pioneers were now doubling up on their magazines for service. Witnesses who rarely bought anything, were now ordering, the New World Translation on Tapes [which, when price sold for over $100.00] everything and anything was being ordered. I was in charge of the literature counter. The invoices included in the orders were now dollarless. Three months later, the elders received a letter from the Society. It basically stated that they [the Society] noticed an enormous increase in literature orders. That the congregation had made purchases of some $3,000.00 and our donations were only somehere around $500.00. They told us we [the congregation] owed the Society $2,300.00. I'm thinking to myself..."hey wait a minute, isn't the literature "FREE" on voluntary donations?" Obviously not! The Society had it all planned out. In the envelope was another letter, addressed to the congregation. That letter basically told of the great work the Society was doing and how support was needed.
In view of that I had announced that we [the congregation] were donating to the Society from the congregation fund $2,500.00 for the World Wide Work.
Clever of them? The Society still got their money. I wonder how many congregations got that letter? Of course only the body of elders knew the truth for sure, the rest of the friends were left to believe we were so loving and generous by supporting the Society with such a big donation. Mind you no mention of the excess literature order was made.
How can they sleep at nights? It was situations like these that opened my mind to the true nature of the Society. They are a publishing house...we are their salesmen...what was that the Judge said "Advertise, Advertise, Advertise..." Nothing has changed!
In His Name!
the address of the congregation:
Jersey City West Congregation
582 Bramhall Avenue
Jersey City,NJ 07304
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