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By 19. May 2022February 23rd, 2023The Governing Body

The Watchtower of 1960, page 265, says:

From the time the Watch Tower Society was formed in 1884 it has never solicited money. . . No plea for money is ever made to the congregation, no perfumed coin envelopes are sent to them for contributions and no pledges are ever asked.

Each congregation decided whether a Kingdom Hall should be bought or built, and each congregation owned its Kingdom Hall. Regarding the expenses of each congregation and its use of money, Organization for Kingdom-Preaching and Disciple-making, page 149, says:

Within each congregation, there are expenses that must be met. No collection is ever taken, nor is there any assessment of dues, but contribution boxes are provided at our meeting places so that each one can have a part “just as he has resolved in his heart.”—2 Cor. 9.7.

This money is used principally to provide a Kingdom Hall in which the congregation can meet, and to care for its upkeep. If there is more money than is needed to care for these expenses, the body of elders may discuss how these funds can best be used to further the work of preaching and disciple-making. Then they present to the congregation a written resolution containing their recommendations.

From the start of the 21st century, there was a change in the viewpoint of money. The Watchtower Society gradually introduced arrangements from which they could get more money — now the Society was soliciting money on a grand scale, something that was unthinkable for the Bible Students in the 19th century and Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 20th century.[1] A letter from the Scandinavian Branch office dated March 29, 2014, to all congregations formally introduced the new system of soliciting money with the words “There is a great need for very big economic resources.”

Contrary to the words in the quotation from 1960, each member was now asked to make an anonymous pledge of how much money he or she would give to the congregation each month, and the sum of these contributions should be sent to the branch office. The instruction, which is the same as an order, was that the congregation should have enough money for the expenses for three months, and the surplus should be sent to the branch office. And the branch office should send the money to an account at the disposal of the Governing Body. The Watchtower Society started now to transfer the ownership of new Kingdom Halls to the Society rather than to the local congregations.

There was a plan behind this new arrangement, namely, to sell as many Kingdom Halls as possible and transfer the money for the sales to the branch office. This was done without the approval of the congregation who owned the hall, and the argument for doing this was, “Jehovah owns everything.” To be able to sell many Kingdom halls, congregations who owned their own Kingdom Hall were asked (ordered) to have their meetings in another Kingdom Hall nearby or far away. Other congregations were divided, one group was assigned to become members of one congregation, and another group was assigned to become a part of another congregation. It is clear that when so many Kingdom Halls were sold it created great problems for many of the members.

I became a Witness in 1961, and at that time, there were few kingdom Halls. The congregations were encouraged to make plans for having their own Kingdom Halls. The Watchtower literature pointed out that there were several advantages for a congregation of having its own Kingdom Hall.

The congregation members now had a hall that they collectively owned. This hall was a rallying point for the whole congregation, and it was furnished in the best way for meetings and other pursuits. The members of the congregation would now have a short distance to travel to the meetings, and they would save both time and money when their meeting place was close by.

I also remember articles saying that when a congregation got its own Kingdom Hall, often there was an increase in new members. The reason was that now Jehovah’s Witnesses, because of their new Kingdom Hall, were viewed as an established group in the community, a group that had come to stay. Most of these advantages are now nullified for many congregations — for the sake of money.

Herjulf Nesje has witnessed the situation of the selling of Kingdom Halls, and he has written the article, “The Story about a Kingdom Hall,” which I heartily recommend.

The article shows that the Kingdom Hall in Nygård, Laksevåg in Bergen was sold because the congregation did not manage to collect enough money to buy the ground on which the hall stood. At this time, there was a Kingdom Hall Fund, and congregations that built a Kingdom Hall or renovated their hall could borrow money from this Fund. This means that already in 2009, the Governing Body had instructed the branch office to start to sell Kingdom halls. If the branch office had wanted that the congregation should continue to have its own Kingdom Hall, the amount of money that the congregation lacked would have been given as a loan through the Kingdom Hall Fund. So, the information given to the congregation about why the Kingdom Hall had to be sold — not enough money was available for buying the building ground — was not the whole truth.

The distance between the Kingdom Hall that was sold and the hall where the congregation now had their meetings was about 11 kilometers. Those who had a car used between 12 and 15 minutes to the meetings. Those who did not have a car had to use two or three buses each way. Nesje’s father had problems with walking, but he could drive to the meetings in his electrical wheelchair. When the meetings now were moved to another Kingdom Hall, he was dependent on someone who could transport him to the meetings.

[1]. A discussion of this subject is found in my book, My Beloved Religion — And The Governing Body revised edition, pages 141-153.


Written by Herjulf Nesje

This is a personal account, and it is written in sympathy with my father, who was a faithful Witness for Jehovah until his death in 2011. He became interested in the religion of the Witnesses around 1950, and he was baptized in 1956.

When I was a child, the Laksevåg congregation rented a room in “The house of the young ones.” That was a barrack constructed by the Germans during World War II in Herman Grans vei in Laksevåg.

In 1966, when I was ten years old, the congregation built their own Kingdom Hall. The building site was made available by Florvaag Bruk my father told me. Florvåg Bruk was a local company selling construction products where several Witnesses worked, some were also in the management.

The money for the Kingdom Hall was raised by the local Witnesses, and it was built by voluntary work. And some Witnesses also donated building materials. My father was a welder, and he made and donated the gate of wrought iron that stood at the entrance of the garden around the hall. This gate is still standing at its place.

The Kingdom Hall was dedicated in 1967, and it was used by the Laksevåg congregation. In time, the meeting attendance increased so much that the congregation was split into two, the Laksevåg congregation and the Loddefjord congregation, and both congregations used the hall for their meetings.

Through the years, the Kingdom Hall has been enlarged and rebuilt several times, each time the work was voluntary and was done by the local members. I do not know if there were any loans connected with the hall, but through so many years, it would have been possible to pay off any loans.

In the last years of my father’s life, 2005-2011, he lived in a retirement home a few hundred meters from the Kingdom Hall. He had problems in walking, but he could drive to the meetings in his electrical wheelchair. He appreciated very much that this was possible.

The Kindom Hall, Nygård. Laksevåg, Bergen — now the base of Budbilexpressen

Around 2008, my father was informed by the elders that the congregation did not own the building site where the Kingdom Hall stood, and the owner of the building site demanded that the congregation bought the building site. If that did not happen, the building site and the Kingdom Hall would be sold. My father was very surprised because he had always believed that the congregation owned the building site.

I have looked at the Book for Land Registration of estates, and it shows that Florvaag Brug and the congregation entered into a land lease agreement in 1967. The agreement should last for 99 years, and the congregation should pay 900 kroner per year as a party fee. However, around the year 2008, the Floorvaag Bruk was bought by Montér, a company selling construction products. And Montér probably wanted to sell properties that would not fit into the business of the company.

Because of the demand of the owners of the construction site, the members of the two congregations who used the Kingdom Hall were asked if they could contribute money, so the building site could be bought and the Kingdom Hall could be saved. My father donated a big sum of money, but he did not tell me the sum. He donated the money via his bank, so his donation could be documented.

Unfortunately, not enough money was donated, and the Kingdom Hall with the building site and the parking lot was sold to Budbilexpressen (a company for delivery vans) in 2009 for 4.1 million kroner (NOK). Today the Kingdom Hall is the base for the delivery vans of Budbilexpressen.

My father was very disappointed, not only because the Kingdom Hall was sold and he could no longer travel to the meetings in his electrical wheelchair. But also because his big money donation was not returned to him.

I asked an elder, who often had visited my father and who was a good friend of mine when we were youngsters, about my father’s donation. I asked where the money had gone and why my father’s donation was not returned to him. But he just looked at me and did not give any answer. I suppose that all the money for the sale and the donations from the congregation members were sent to the branch office.

Everyone was disappointed, not only my father. For now, there was no Kingdom Hall in the community. And the Laksevåg congregation had to have their meetings in the Kingdom hall at Bønes, quite a distance away. Witnesses who did not have a car had to use two or three buses each way to come to the meetings. The Loddefjord congregation had to use the Kingdom Hall at Sotra.

But this was not a unique situation. Sometime after the year 2000, the Witnesses built a new big Kingdom Hall at Apeltun/Nesttun in Bergen. This hall was also made by voluntary work and the donations of the Witnesses funded the project. The plan was that several congregations should use this hall, and it should also be used for circuit assemblies. But two years ago, this Kingdom Hall was sold to (of all buyers) Kristkirken (the Church of Christ) for 30 million kroner. (see the picture below) The congregations who used this Kingdom Hall now had to use the Kingdom Hall at Bønes.

And where did all the money go?

I have looked at the books of Stiftelsen Jehovas vitner (The trust of Jehovah’s Witnesses) for the last couple of years (accessible at the governmental site Something I understand and something I do not understand. But when a Kingdom Hall is sold for 30 million kroner, that should be visible in the books. But I did not find it.

An article in the newspaper Vårt Land illuminates this situation.(

The Kingdom Hall at Apeltun/Nesttun, Bergen — now Kristkirken (The Church of Christ)

It is clear that Stiftelsen Jehovas vitner (aka The Watchtower Society) gets a lot of money from donations from the members and from the sales of Kingdom Halls around the country. And most of this money they send out of the country. But no one knows where the money goes and for what the money is used.

I react to this quotation from the newspaper Vårt Land:

“The basic reason for the increase is that several congregations have donated money that they did not need locally” writes the religious denomination as a summary of the main lines of economy from last year.

First: the local congregations do not have many money resources. I have been told that there is an instruction (order) that each congregation must have money for the daily expenses of three months. Money that the congregations have in addition to this must be sent to the Scandinavian branch office in Denmark.

Second: Nothing is said about forced sales of Kingdom Halls.

In the 21st century, The Governing Body, the leadership of JW, has left the principle of never asking for money. Today, there is a big focus on money, and that is the reason why so many Kingdom Halls have been sold. (Rolf Furuli, previous elder and overseer in JW, writes about this in chapter 3 of his book My Beloved Religion  — And The Governing Body– It can be ordered from

I feel sympathy for the Witnesses who throughout the years have made voluntary work and donated money and built their Kingdom Halls —halls that they themselves own and are so proud of, but who in recent years have lost these halls without any explanation and now are crowded together in Kingdom Halls a long distance from where they live.

Rolf Furuli

Author Rolf Furuli

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