I’ve starting to put together some information on JW financial holdings and structures. I’d like to be able to have some basic figures to hold up alongside the donations and work of their unpaid members. I haven’t been able to find out very much, at least not yet.
First off, there seems to be no real entity of “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Here are the current actual legal entities.
1) Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (originally called Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, then Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society – two words)
2) Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (originally called People’s Pulpit Association), a subsidiary – the legal representative and agent.
3) International Bible Students Association – based in London.
There was a big corporate shakeup not too long ago that involved all sorts of shuffling around, a lot of “annointing”, claiming the preexistence of the Governing Body before the corporation, and even the replacing GB members with non_GB members in top positions of corporate. Wow – they redefine “legalistic” in so many ways. Anyway, out of that came a few new corporate entities, including the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Religious Order of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Kingdom Support Services, Inc. There are also smaller groups, many of which I can’t track very well, and country-specific entities such as Wachtturm-Gesellschaft, Selters/Taunus, which produces litterature using the German branch office.
The WBTS and its slaves (their language) prohibit any association with worldly authorities. They cannot take part or do business with political, other religious, or military institutions. They don’t participate in even democratic processes. They don’t vote, or salute the flag, or join the military, or even join the Boy/Girl Scouts or the YMCA. I remember talking about the UN as the Scarlet Beast of the Apocalypse (although it turns out that the WTBTS were actually a member group of the UN). Yet it looks as though they might be involved in warfare technology investments and other prohibited political involvements
I am interested in how the financial side of things really works. Randy Watters did a great job researching how and why the JWs moved into the language of donation and contribution with regard to their book and magazine sales.
The JW corporations hide their finances as much as possible. I have seen claims of assets in the hundreds of billions, but they are only claims – I can’t find the proof of it with the tools I currently have. With free labor and interesting little items like the parking contribution, it’s certainly possible.
Who legally owns each Kingdom Hall, and the land? They claim religious and nonprofit status, but have been in and out of court in several countries on issues related to that status.
More and more, the religious organization looks like protective coloring for something else entirely.
A quick search on Dunn and Bradstreet – just for New York – brings up
1971 BUSINESS COMMITTEE OF JEHOVAH WITNESSES
Also Trades As: WATCH TOWER SOCIETY 1971 Strauss St, Brooklyn, NY
HQ WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY Foots Corners Rd & Route 96, Interlaken, NY
HQ WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA 25 Columbia Hts, Brooklyn, NY
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY 4206 National St, Flushing, NY
What happens in a nonprofit if they, um, make a profit?
Feel free to comment with information if it is publically (and legally) available.