Working in the Watchtower’s Engineering Department

Before my transfer from the Engineering Department to the Writing Department in 1989, the architect designing a 30-story staff residence building (that was about to be built near the four Watchtower printery buildings) mentioned to me his need for a professional cost analysis system to be put into place for future building projects. He designed the buildings but the Accounting Department paid the bills.

Consequently, after a project was completed, building costs were not shared with him. Since I was familiar with a bookkeeping system that could provide a breakdown of all segments of a construction project’s cost, I offered to design one for him to use for the new project.

After deliberation and approval by administrators, they made arrangements for me to work directly with the major New York construction company that was erecting the building. In effect, we had our own small accounting department. I received and paid all the bills associated with the project and did a monthly analysis of all costs associated (including overhead) with the project. I was amazed to learn that such an analysis had never been undertaken before. Without factoring in overhead costs along with materials, I knew that a construction business could easily go bankrupt. But Watchtower’s venture into the construction of large buildings throughout the world was a whole different matter.

At that time Watchtower’s Accounting Department didn’t have a cost accounting system in place – so building costs were not regulated and corruption could not be spotted. During a conversation with two prominent JW construction overseers who were directing different aspects of Watchtower’s worldwide expansion program, I was shocked to hear about large-scale thievery of heavy equipment and materials while being transferred from country-to-country. However, due to the constant flow of donations coming into the JW organization, these overseers lamented that it didn’t seem to matter to those who managed the financial affairs where the money went – as long as donations continued to flow in.

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James E

James E

Hello … Because I believe much of what you report to be disingenuous, and the facts being reported are likely in regard to corrupt individuals and not the organization as a whole; I would like to ask a question. Most “cults” have a leader or leaders who become wealthy, fat, and happy at the expense of their members. In all of your years a Bethel, and in all of your research into improprieties within the WTB&TS, where did you find the fancy penthouse apartments, cars, Rolex watches, concubines, and so forth that are earmarks of a cult and cult leadership?

Beninu Andersen

Beninu Andersen

No Jehovahs Witness have any idea wether the Gov. Body members only inhabit the same small single rooms that all other bethelites – including my parents that also lived in Bethel for 21 years – did, or if they live in far larger penthouse apartments that are also a part of the living areas of Brooklyn Bethel. Even during my early teens my parents were urged to come and work at Bethel, and they offered to build a separate house on the premises where we could live for free as a family until I was old enough to live by myself and they could move into Bethel staff living quarters. They were eager to get my father to work at Bethel because my father was an educated professor teaching computer science at university and he had previously spent several years of his spare time working on automatic translation systems for the WTS in both New York and Selters, Germany and of course in Denmark where the Scandinavian translations are done. (My father was fluent in English, German, French, Swedish and Danish, and was the main force in programming the system for making the Comprehensive Concordance and the translation of the New World Translation into Danish and Swedish and the system he made was converted for reuse in the Italian, Spanish and French language veresions). My father had unlimited access to the large mainframes of the University where he lectured, and he used that privilege in the Watchtowers service. When they came to Bethel my father started in the computer service and maintenance department, but later he was transferred to the Hospital Information Service Desk at the branch office where he served as the overseer of the Scandinavian Dept. the last 15 years of their Bethel Service. They truly enjoyed that even thouugh it was often hard and working saturdays was something that was particularly hard for my mum that had been a stay-at-home mum all of her life. My mothers health deteriorated the last 4-5 years they spent there, and she was allowed an extra day off during the week and to take an extra half hours break after lunch as an attempt to accomodate her on the conditions set by her health conditions. So they stayed a few more years on Bethel until my mother became too ill to work full time (she was in the translation services) and it was made clear to them in no uncertain terms that they would probably “be of more help somewhere else where the need is bigger” – meaning outside Bethel(!) – now that my mother could only work 4 days a week and had to sometimes stop early due to severe pain from her arthritis and her swollen legs from her bad heart condition. When my parents left a comfortable life to go to Bethel they had built a nice little savings account that should make sure they could also keep a decent living when my father wanted to retire at around 65 years old. At the age of 63 and 66 my parents had to leave Bethel and had to start all over in a small apartment outside Bethel after having sold their nice penthouse 21 years earlier and donated quite a bit to the society expecting to be able to live at Bethel until the day they died, they had practically nothing.

Neither of them were in particularly good health, especially my mum, but my father had a weak heart and suffered from high blood preassure that was difficult to regulate. My father had reached legal retirement age by then, and since he had stopped working at the age of 44 to go to Bethel, he was not entitled to the same retirement benefits as those of his collegues that kept working until they were 65. Their savings was more or less spent during their time on Bethel, and they had always been very generous when contributing financially to “Kingdom Work”, so they left Bethel relatively poor, and had to live in a small rented apartment.

A year after they left Bethel my father got cancer. He underwent surgery and stayed well for two years, after wich it reoccurred, only now it had spread to his liver and his brain. He died 69 years old in a hospice – alone, with me – his disfellowshipped son that he hadn’t wanted to keep in touch with for 15 years – as the one who (along with my sweet wife) took care of all his personal needs, went to doctors appointments with him, etc. My mother had died from heart failure during surgery at the age of 66 only ten months earlier. When that happened he contacted me for the first time in 15 years. When I saw his number on my mobile I knew that something must have happened. Unfortunately it took the death of my mother to get him to call me again. One month after we got back in touch his cancer returned. (I hadn’t even been informed when he underwent surgery for his cancer e couple of years earlier, so this was the first I ever heard of his disease). It was a quick downhill battle. Fortunately the prosepect of imminent death made my father a bit more lax about socializing with me although I was disfellowshipped during the the last 16 years at the time. We managed to catch up and as soon as he contacted me I decided to “turn the other cheek” and let bygones be bygones and not burden an aging mand with my disappointment in the way they had shunned me despite my only sin being that I didn’t believe the Bible the exact same way he did. I lived my life in a way that was completely in accordance with the JW moral standards – not that their standards mattered to me, but that just happened to be the case – so I was in no way an adulterer, drunk, thief, blasphemer, etc. like the ones the Bible tells you to avoid, but that didn’t really matter after all. But I felt that my task in the few months my father had left to live was to be as good a son as I could to him, giving him the things he needed in his short life, and we drove around the country to see all the places he went as a young boy, so he could relive these moments one last time before it was too late and he couldn’t get in and out of a car anymore.

This story is just to tell, that I have seen how the organisation works firsthand, and I’ve spent plenty of time at Bethel and with the Bethel family during holidays, while my parents still lived there, before I was disfellowshipped, so the account from Barbara Anderson doesn’t in any way seem twisted compared to the things I saw and heard first hand from my parents, while they still lived in Bethel.

As for the living standards, I saw firsthand how Bethel in Denmark expanded the buildings and made some way more luxurious apartments for senior members of the Bethel family, where they had several rooms in one apartment and two nice balconys or terraces (depending on the floor), while bethelites like my parents stayed in a single room that served as both bedroom, living room and dining room, with a small wardrobe in the entrance and a small bathroom with a shower niche and nothing else. So there are definitely benefits from being senior members of the Bethel family – also when it comes to living standards. So when even in small Denmark the senior members get a much nicer 3-bedroom apartment, why wouldn’t that be the case to an even greater extent witht the apartments that are given to the members of the Governing Body? Do YOU know how they live? Did YOU even know that bethelites actually ARE offered extra luxurious apartments based on seniority?

Leslie S.

Leslie S.

Hello James E.,

I think the question you need to ask is if the corrupt individuals are a part of the organization or not. If so, is the organization blameless? If not, is the organization blameless for not finding an honest individual to shepherd the heavy equipment from Point A to Point B? Whatever conclusion you reach indicates a lack of concern for organizational costs.

Organizational costs that you, as a witness of Jehovah, pay for when you make a contribution into the KH box or convention ATM.

Who is paying attention to organizational costs and ensuring that the good work is done without accruing costs to Jehovah’s Witnesses in congregations throughout the world that are paying for things through hard-earned donations that they ought not to be paying for (stolen Caterpillar earthmoving equipment costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, for instance)? My background includes extensive work with off-highway machinery so I know the cost basis involved in purchasing equipment. Its a major investment!

You mention leaders of cults that are wealthy, fat, and happy and that does not seem to describe the leaders (Governing Body) of Jehovah’s Witnesses. That is incorrect.

Just imagine if you personally could forgo living costs such as mortgage/rent, property insurance, life insurance, health insurance costs, vehicle & insurance costs, food costs, medical costs, a maid to clean your apartment, a maid to clean & iron your clothing, somebody to prepare 3 meals a day for you without cost. Whether you had income or not, you’re certainly ahead of the average U.S. citizen. Would you take that “deal?” I daresay that you wouldn’t even need to work secularly. Everything is paid for. Even if you had “0” dollars in the bank, you have no expenses. So just do a little spreadsheet showing your income and deductions for the above living expenses. I think you would say, Wow!

The Governing Body is living a life of leisure (traveling the world in their witnessing). I am 100% certain that they are living a life better than you are. No Rolexes necessary. Rolexes don’t actually improve anybody’s life, they are simply a status symbol. Have you had the chance to visit Greece? Bali? Singapore? Probably not.

You brought up “fat” in your post. I think every one of the Governing Body is “fat” according to BMI standards set in the U.S. I’m not anywhere near the “fat” levels that they are. Face it, most of then are fat.

And, in terms of financial gain, you cannot assert anything at all since the Jehovah’s Witnesses offer no transparent insight into their financials under the protection of IRS rules for religious organizations. I am a financial advisor. With the information they offer, there is no way to accurately determine anything, other than what the Governing Body chooses to say. Nothing. No independent documents. They are hiding behind their shield as a religious organization and sticking to that. Despite that, there are documents online that show that they hold stocks, via bequeaths, in companies that the Jehovah’s Witnesses would not approve (cigarette stocks, defense stocks that gain on war/defense issues). But you, as a peon, would not be allowed to own these stocks without risking disfellowshiping. It is hypocrisy at the highest level, since nobody is going to disfellowship the Governing Body, as an entity, for earning the most they can on (disallowed) investments.

You simply need to Google “Henrietta Riley” documents to see that the Governing Body holds securities in companies that would create a disfellowshiping situation for you.

Why is that?

You are a peon and a blind follower (no negative imperialistic manner on my part intended in that statement). I can simply see how your opinion mirrors the opinion of my father, who is an Elder and trusts the organization implicitly. Despite the fact that he is in need and nobody comes to him offering help. At all, ever. Instead, it is his “Non Jehovah’s Witness blood relatives” who are helping him thru his issues as he nears the end of his life. And he, honestly, thought that the end of the world would occur in 1975.

When you need assistance, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to send prayers your way and a ton of offering of help, which they don’t really mean. They aren’t interested in providing practical help to even an Elder of 40+ years (food, household assistance, medical transportation, etc). They ghost. Disappear. You can listen to my experiences or experience it yourself if you don’t choose to believe me. These aren’t people of God. I’m only saying this because this is my experience and I hope you don’t have to experience this yourself because it is a reliance upon people who are incapable/unwilling to be relied upon when it is necessary. REALLY. A big wake-up call. And who wants a big wake-up call when you’re 80 years old and your diaper is leaking?????

My father has been an Elder for 4+ decades. They don’t care about him at all, really.

If you really want to investigate, see Take your future into your own hands. Looking at information that conflicts with Jehovah’s Witnesses teaching is a disfellowshiping offense, I know, because they don’t want you to look at anything other than the literature. But why is that? Suppression? Keeping you loyal under all circumstances? Perhaps there is something there that makes sense. I can assure you that!!

I’m not a Jehovah’ Witness but will take care of my father, in honor of him, despite his beliefs and your beliefs. Because, deep down based on experience, I know that nobody really gives a crap about his dedication or more than 40+ years to the Jehovah’s Witness organization. They have already shown their true colors. And that color is BLACK.



Didn’t Franz write about a number of beautiful estates that Rutherford and Russel owned? I believe one was in Southern California. I wonder if they are still in the real estate portfolio and used as a museum of sorts?



It is funny how I was treated with disdain when I reported my rape by a “brother” and everyone* dropped me like a hot potato as a fair weathered “friend”…yet ran to the sex offender’s side because he was the son of a friend of the elders. Aside from that, I would get fair weathered “sisters” with testicles the size of an elephant’s dropping by or telephoning for “free haircuts and color because they couldn’t afford it on their husband’s salary alone while auxiliary pioneering.