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Commentary :: Education : Environment
Jehovah Witnesses Condo Conundrum--End of the World Near?
06 Jul 2005
Watchtower Builds Luxury Properties in Brooklyn
For over 125 years the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society has been proclaiming the end of the world is nigh. It is to be replaced with a New Order where only those espousing their beliefs will live. Originally the founder, Charles Taze Russell of Pittsburgh, PA stated that 1874 was the supposed invisible return of Christ (a teaching borrowed from the early Adventists), followed by a 30-year "harvest" of the chosen few who would rule with Christ. They were to be taken to heaven in 1914, which remains today a pivotal year in the Jehovah's Witness' teachings.

After Russell's death in 1916, Joseph "Judge" Rutherford maintained that the end was near, even penning a book called "Millions Now Living Will Never Die," and predicted the resurrection of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in 1925:

"After 1925 expect shortly Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.. No doubt many boys and girls who read this book will live to see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, and those other men of old come forth in the glory of their better resurrection, of perfect in mind and body. It will not take long for Christ to appoint them to their post of honor and authority as his earthly representatives. The world and all the present conveniences will seen strange to them at first, but they will soon become accustomed to the new methods. They may have some amusing experiences at first; for they never saw telephones, radios, automobiles, electric lights, aeroplanes, steam engines, and many other things so familiar to us." ("The Way To Paradise", 1924, p. 224-6)

A large mansion in San Diego was built for the returning patriarchs and was even deeded to them. The mansion stands today in San Diego as a reminder of their expectations, but was sold in the 40s after the prediction was seen as a failure. Yet the Watchtower Society continued to build in Brooklyn, expanding their smaller headquarters to contain several large properties in the exclusive Brooklyn Heights section next to the Brooklyn Bridge. In spite of several failed prophecies for the end of the world, the last disappointment being the year 1975, the Watchtower is a multi-billion dollar landowner all over the world. Income from their New York City corporation (one of many they own) is one of the top 40 in New York City, with just under $1 billion per year.

Not content with owning large blocks of properties and a 30-story residential building in Brooklyn, the Watchtower Society is planning to build a large 20+ story complex in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a trendy neighborhood that is not happy with their plans.

Curbed.com states in their Dec. 6, 2004 article, "Jehovah's Witnesses On Track to Colonize Dumbo":

"Despite the vigorous protestations of the Dumbo Neighborhood Association, plans for a massive Jehovah's Witnesses HQ at the three-acre plot at 85 Jay Street in Dumbo/Vinegar Hill have been approved by the City Council's zoning subcommittee. Reports the Post, the 20-story building 'will house about 1,600 of the religion's faithful working at the Witnesses' Brooklyn Heights headquarters. There are currently about 3,500 people living in DUMBO.' " (http://www.curbed.com/archives/2004/12/06/jehovahs_witnesses_on_track_to)

A watchdog organization called 85 Jay Street.org (http://85jaystreet.org/planned/) was formed to oppose this major influx of non-taxpaying residents, who want the project scaled down and altered to at least reflect part of the local community instead of having another huge religious dormitory like the large factory and residential buildings already dominating Brooklyn Heights.

Why So Much Construction When the End is Near?

Currently Jehovah's Witnesses are attending summer conventions all over the world, and part of the scripted assembly program is focused on this "time of the end" we are living in. One play drama focuses on not worrying so much about getting a higher education because the "end is near," and time would be better spent going door-to-door and gaining converts. (Oddly, less than 5% of Witnesses get involved due to their door-to-door work). This comes at a time when the number of Witnesses among more educated countries is dropping, sustained only by their own birth rate. Why are so many buildings being erected when the numbers are down and Witnesses are apathetic about pressure to do more? Even Meeting attendances are reported to be considerably down in many areas of the United States and Europe and even Japan, one of their former showcase countries.

It could be the need to invest money in property to ensure that as the numbers of converts decrease, the organization will survive. Or it could be an advance move to make sure their are enough funds to cover the ongoing litigation over child abuse scandals now mounting. (http://www.silentlambs.org) The large payouts the Catholic Church has made in the last few years over pedophile priests and those who cover them up has Watchtower attorneys worried for similar reasons. This is largely due to a "biblical dictate" that says in order to take action against any allegations of sexual misconduct or pedophilia there must be "two witnesses" to the alleged crime. Since that is rarely the case in the real world with pedophiles, large numbers of them have been left unpunished and go unreported, even though the elders and the leaders of the Watchtower Society often have knowledge of such allegations, and in fact have covered over many confessions of sex abusers - not wanting adverse publicity on their organization. This "ecclesiastical privilege" means that the Witness coming to your door to talk about the Bible may in fact be a known pedophile among his elders but has never been prosecuted by the sect OR the law, and they are out there talking to your children. Some even continue to hold responsibilities in their respective congregations; the organization feeling that if they have "repented of their sins," there is no need to notify the secular authorities, for "Jehovah" is the judge of men's hearts and not "worldly" people. The law firm of Love and Norris (http://www.lovenorrisattorneys.com/jehova.html) is currently seeking prosecution for several such cases among the Witnesses, hoping to build a class-action suit that will force the Watchtower to change its policies (they are still holding to the "two witnesses" rule). The Watchtower Society is building all of their new properties to be easily converted into luxury apartments should the need arise. They already have several large properties up for sale in this multimillion dollar neighborhood. Buy low and sell high! But if the end is near, Why?

contributed by Randall Watters

Randall Watters is president of Free Minds, Inc., a non-profit organization acting as a watchdog for the Jehovah's Witness sect, also known as the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. Randall was a Jehovah's Witness for eight years, from 1972 to 1980, and served as an elder and factory overseer at the Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Watters resigned in 1980. For more than 20 years he has educated the public about this sect. He resides in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
See also:
http://www.freeminds.org/
http://www.dannyhaszard.com/

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Re: Jehovah Witnesses Condo Conundrum--End of the World Near?
07 Jul 2005
Good read,anything for a buck the Watchtower doesn't care how many followers they fleece.Always follow the money trail.....
Re: Jehovah Witnesses Condo Conundrum--End of the World Near?
07 Jul 2005
I just hope they are right, that the world is soon to be governed by a righteous God so that true justice will prevail over the earth and death and tears will be eliminated, etc. You can't blame them for being over-eager for this result
Hamid Rasool, Hemet, California