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Breaking News: Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Selling the Majority of Their UK Properties. Are They On the Run From the Charity Commission?

This morning, the website Estates Gazette published a story stating that the Jehovah’s Witnesses “is considering a sale of the majority of its UK property portfolio.” The religion is officially known as the International Bible Students Association (IBSA) in the UK, and the story went on to say:

Primary assets include Watch Tower House, a 103,334 sq ft mixed-use building on an eight-acre plot which includes 175 studio or one-bedroom flats for IBSA staff. The building is used to publish magazines The Watchtower and Awake! … IBSA House, a 201,285 sq ft building on a five-acre plot which serves as the religious group’s main offices, is also included. The site has planning approval for a further 34,445 sq ft of offices. The phasing of the sale is under review but is expected by 2021 at the latest as the organisation moves to its new purpose-built centre in Chelmsford, Essex. However, IBSA said offices could be quickly vacated if investors requested.”

While the story does bring out that the JW leaders are moving into a new complex in Chelmsford, it is interesting to note how they are suddenly interested in unloading all these properties while they still have their charitable status in the UK; “Steve Canning, of IBSA’s London Real Estate Team, said: ‘We have been contacted by various developers but as a charity we have to go to the market to decide how we can progress.'” (Bold added for emphasis.)

Anything is possible, and no doubt the slowed growth of the religion and their reliance on their new website for recruitment has resulted in less need for real estate to house personnel and print literature, but the timing is too suspect to overlook. Just last March, the Charity Commission in the UK received a favorable court decision to move forward with their Inquiry against the religion. If Jehovah’s Witnesses were to lose their charitable status because of this Inquiry, no doubt this would have huge financial implications for them; this might include having to start paying property taxes. The publicity surrounding the Inquiry may also result in more lawsuits being filed for how they mishandle child abuse cases.

For many ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, this property sale is actually very good news. While the religion is good at cutting their costs, even if it means reducing their staff and sending older volunteers home after years of service, any damage that can be done financially will mean less money they can use to pay for attorneys to defend themselves against claims of mishandling child abuse accusations.

I can’t think of anything else that would convince the Watchtower to start caring about how their policies affect children; after thousands of victims have come forward and talked about the devastating effects of being demoralized by elders after making their claims, the Watchtower has simply dug in their heels and refused to take any responsibility for their actions, as was shown by the Australian Royal Commission Inquiry. Maybe if they lost their charitable status and need to start paying taxes on their donations and property so they have less to spend on attorneys, they might finally make some changes. Money does make the world go ’round, as they say.

Whatever the reason for this sudden fire sale of their properties, let’s be sure we’re giving our full cooperation to the Charity Commission and are offering them the evidence they need to carefully consider the charitable status of the Watchtower. Let’s also hope that this move means that the Watchtower sees the handwriting on the wall, and they know that the outside world sees it too.

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Click this photo for the latest information about the Charity Commission Inquiry and instructions on how you can contact their investigator with your story.

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39 replies »

  1. Loud and proud. How about you talk to some abuse victims like me instead of the do gooders in the religion. Talk to the ones who have had terrible experiences and have your eyes opened as urs are clearly being blinded by satan. Altho that is in the bible too isn’t it.

  2. JW’s lie and deceive countless amounts of people! They have manipulated people into donating their whole life, and many groom and give their children to them all in the name of God. The last time I looked in the Bible, lying and deceit are sins. They should be ashamed of themselves. I personally believe the ones who are collecting the “real” money don’t even show their faces. Men who are on JW.org are given credit and glory and they stay because that’s probably what really motivates them. The same for the elders at each KH; they enjoy having control and getting away with crimes and love to be told how they are doing a great job and getting paid nothing! There are different ways of getting “paid”. I personally believe it is Satan’s organization! So by defending the JW’s, you are not helping Jehovah! Think about God’s qualities. From what I have seen, most of the people who are JW’s not only don’t display those qualities but don’t even try or care. The way I see it, they have gotten away with too much for too long!

  3. Need an unlike button. That story sucKS. There is apart of a reporters story laced the speculation, and spacy speculation at vest adoing in your own l9ose views. Well, it just socks.

  4. I am not a JW but was interested in the story about the sale of these properties. I live in NorthWest London, close to many of these properties.

    In 2009 IBSA bought 2 sites in the local borough from a property developer who had got into financial difficulties. The developer had planning permission for 9 luxury flats on one site and 6 on the other. These permissions were granted as they were similar to other developments in the area. In 2010 IBSA got the developer to submit new applications with minor changes, although the developer had no legal interest in the sites. After permission was granted IBSA built out the site but instead of building 15 flats, they actually built 57 tiny studio flats, totally out of character with the rest of the area. Instead of about 40 people living in the approved flats, IBSA stuffed in about 120 people. They repeatedly lied to the neighbours and Council about what their intentions were during the building works and claimed that they had legal “advice” that the 57 flats they built constituted no material difference from the 15 that were approved. The applications were part of a pre-planned scheme based on deceit and dishonesty – IBSA never had any intention of building the 15 flats, but they knew that they would never get permission for what they actually wanted. They knew that there was a good chance of getting away with things – at least until the buildings became a fait-accompli.

    The whole case went to a public Inquiry, costing the Council and the local residents a fortune. IBSA refused to provide the “advice” that they claimed allowed them to build what they wanted to. They put up as their “expert” witness a man who had been appointed a director only one year earlier and knew next to nothing about the development. Meanwhile, a few of the long term directors hid away rather than tell everyone what really happened. In its statements, IBSA claimed to be an organization with the highest moral standards. It claimed that the people living in the flats were “well known to be well behaved” and “good neighbours etc.etc. In fact the JWs were rude, inconsiderate and arrogant, They had been asked to park well away from their blocks, which could only accommodate about 10-20% of the vehicles they had, but they constantly parked close by, forcing elderly and disabled owners of properties in the road to walk a long way from their cars to their homes. Because they had stuffed so many people in the buildings, they had forced ventilation systems running 24/7 that disturbed the neighbours. Despite many requests, they did not address the problems they caused to people already living in the area – they simply thought about themselves to the exclusion of all others. It also became apparent that many of them were heavy drinkers, the noise made when the recycling picked up their empties was unbelievable.

    IBSA was repeatedly asked why they could not tell the truth about their real intentions for the sites. It was quite obvious from their deviousness that honesty and consideration for other people were almost alien concepts – all they thought about was themselves to the exclusion of everyone else.

    The Inquiry found against IBSA but because they intend to sell the flats as is, the legacy of their lies and fabrications will continue to affect all those living nearby. If any commercial developer behaved in this way, there would have been a huge outcry. The Inspector described the accommodation – which fell well below the minimum size standards – in which they housed the workers as “claustrophobic”

    I have never had any dealings with JWs before, but now see them as nothing more than a money-driven cult, similar to the Scientologists. Of course, not one JW has had the decency to apologize for their deception and dishonesty.

  5. I read about the catholic church did not want to allow the officials access to their records at all. They said that they would deal with it on the inside. I have to look at how they dealt with the issue before I draw a conclusion for the jehovahs witness

  6. Hmm… could they be legally made to back pay the lifetime of its fraudulently established charitable status? When did they first apply for it, I’m curious as to how long they have gotten away with this…

  7. Biggest pyramid / ponzi scheme ever! Give us your money & time and you will get survival of Armageddon and everlasting life in an imaginary utopia/paradise. … Oh and we don’t even help our own – we never paid them, but we just chuck them out anyway. … Dear congregation/family/friends/government: the support of these ‘loyal servants’ are now your problem.

      • https://www.jw.org/en/news/

        Jehovah’s Witnesses have been at the forefront of a lot of disasters around the world. The difference is that they do not want to be in the news boasting about it. From Katrina to Sri Lanka Jehovah’s Witnesses have been there faster than a lot of charities. I have learned a lot from actually asking questions from actual Jehovah’s Witnesses than assuming things. But the best thing is they ask for nothing in return from anyone.

        I found out that they are downsizing their properties around the world not to hide anything but to work on more ways to be able to help people. I have gone to the source documents and seen how everything is done by donations not thing cost anything. No one gets paid there which is shocking but true. People say a lot of things about these people but it is best to find out the facts instead of listening to someone else belt it out.

        If I told you that a car is coming down the street and trying to hit you I would think that you would turn around to look to see if it is true or not. The same applies to if someone else says something about someone turn around and find out the facts from the source instead of listening to people who have just one objective.

      • Asking actual Jehovah’s Witnesses is like asking an Apple salesperson to tell you about the latest iPhone. Of course they’ll give you a sales presentation, not the real truth. JWs don’t help people at all; not one soup kitchen, homeless shelter, counseling center or anything. They rebuild a few homes of JWs affected by disaster, but this work is supported by donations from local congregants, not from their headquarters. They’ve even asked for the reimbursement funds that people get from an insurance company, which is insurance fraud. They don’t hand out food, water, blankets, or anything in areas of disaster. Yes, check out any warning given by anyone, not just the person saying it and this means more than just the PR propaganda put up by JWs about JWs.

      • They actually do provide things like that. You might want to actually go to the news and not the negative made up information. I do not stand up for people that are in the wrong but I will fight to the last breath in my lungs to make sure that the proper information is provided. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not want to be posted all over the news saying that they are providing these things. Even if you research hospitals and other sources they will have information on quality research that has been provided by Jehovah’s Witnesses in the avenues of health and life techniques. There are tons of hospitals that now implement those techniques and the outcomes of surgeries people are recovering a lot faster.

        Why do people that are a religion have to advertise that they are doing things. Doesn’t the bible say do not let your right hand know what your left is doing? I actually respect them in that aspect….. When you have people that do things and do not ask for anything in return unless you want to donate that is better than a lot of these charities that ask for money and then turn around and pay their top executives hundreds of thousands of dollars to in a sense run the charities I am for them on that. I didn’t say ask them I put to actually research for yourself. Last time I checked when we go to school not only did we have to interview a person but we had to open a book or go online after the internet was created to find out the facts.

        No just hearsay from others around. Facts Facts Facts. I could post things online about you as a person and it may not be true but if a person does not use the brain that was put in their head then they will believe anything that is put in front of them. I would respect your comments more if you post facts.

        It also seems like you will not ask someone that is a Jehovah’s Witness because they spread “PR propaganda” so who are you going to ask? or what logical thing would someone do. The last time I chatted with a jehovah’s witness anytime they answered a question they used the bible they showed me in black and white. They even pointed it out in my bible as well.

      • Your facts facts facts are wrong; even governing body member Anthony Morris, at this year’s convention, applauded a “young fella” who died from not taking a blood transfusion. Are you saying Anthony Morris is not getting his facts straight? How do you know JWs don’t pay their “top executives” a lot of money? They get their food, clothing, housing, transportation, travel, and everything else for free. They wear very fine suits and nice watches and don’t work for their money like everyday congregants. That’s no different than charities paying their executives a salary. Saying JWs don’t want to be posted all over the news is hogwash; they certainly post their own stories about how supposedly charitable they are and don’t mind sharing the few news stories they show up in!

        Be careful about using phrases like “use the brain that was put in their head.” I’ll allow you to express yourself on this site but once you start becoming insulting, you’re blocked.

      • You know something did you research why there was an applauding? Or did you just go off of that? It is about conviction and love for God. I bet you they applauded for the strength that the kid had for not accepting the transfusion. It is just like those people that applaud those ones who have a right to die. The facts are in about blood transfusions and how they could be harmful. You do not look for the positive you look at the negative in it.

        Its called find sales and actually care for what you have.. I am a man and a lot of people sit there and talk about I have a lot of money because of the suits that I wear but they do not know that I found a store that sales good suits for a low price. Still assuming nothing that is fact. You are going off of what you are seeing and not by what is fact. They do not collect paychecks that was investigated by several places and newspapers and found out that they do not get paychecks.

        Yeah they post it on their website and not all over the news channels and etc. Last time I checked reporters check into things and then they do the reporting. Still a bunch of mess coming from you and no cold hard facts. I did not mean that as an insult I do not hold back the truth from people who seek them. You can block me from the site but that does not change the truth that is out there. I speak that way in my own mind to myself. It is not an insult and if you took it that way I apologize. There I am not the type of person that holds back and make things roses I speak what I know and what I actually take the time to investigate. I am not the type of person that likes to be lied to and I treat everyone the same way.

        And by the way how else would someone come to a logic conclusion on any matter?

      • “… you look at the negative in it.” Yes, I see a teenager dying from an ever-changing belief on blood and an audience applauding that, and I think it’s negative. If you don’t think a child dying for a doctrine that virtually every bible scholar thinks you’ve gotten wrong and which you’ve had to change over the years, then you are simply macabre.

        It’s not all over the news channels because it doesn’t exist; JWs don’t tell reporters what to report, so if reporters saw their charitable works everywhere, they would report it and JWs couldn’t and wouldn’t stop them. Besides, how could someone get help if JWs kept it such a big secret? They help a few of their own members in times of really bad disaster, take insurance money from them, and don’t help anyone else or even other JWs on a daily basis. No soup kitchens, no pantries or food donation centers, no shelters, nothing. The religion is shameful and just a sham.

      • All I hear is hearsay where is the proof of this? I read a story online where a women called her church and they were going to charge her to move a shed but the Jehovahs Witness moved it for free with no charge. That was a new station reported not them. When I watch the new it either leans one way or the other. They pick and choose what information is given out to people they adjust it to fit their news CNN, Fox news e.t.c.

        I would think it would be only right for them to get the money if they are doing the repairs don’t you or do you think they would be a multi billion dollar charity that only gives a portion of the money towards a cause instead of every penny that it gets. I actually did some reading into what they have in place and they have a department called the LDC that works with a local department over the needs of the people in the area from what I read. I am going to research them more to see what I can find out but so far I haven’t seen anything negative except a few negative people that were supposedly as they said kicked out because they didn’t listen.

        The only problem too is that so far also what I read is that they do not kick people out. I just do not like hearsay I like to get the facts. So if religion is a sham why are we here? If there is a God what does he want? Who in the world decided what he wants? & How does he get the information to all of us?

  8. This cult has never been chatitable to anything or anyone ever…they do not donate or help anybody but themselves! They are self serving and unloving. How then do they dare to call themselves a charitable organisation! Disgraceful.

  9. The tax exempt churches,sects or movements who has title a charity doesn’t pay taxes.
    If they will loose that privilege then they will be forced to pay taxes like any other profit organization who makes business behind so called religion.Its evident many of those organizations do not qualify being charity and simply taking advantage on it.The government makes duty to investigate and it is legit right indeed.

    • Jehovah’s Witnesses collect donations and do not charge for what they do. Jehovah’s Witnesses are hailed by several countries and states for providing services and supplies for those in need and actually taking care of areas that they are not required to care for .

      • Absolute baloney. JWs help a few of their congregants here and there, but perform no charitable works. Find a JW cart handing out blankets, food, water, and other supplies to those affected by disaster; if you can find one, they are few and far between. You’ll hear their own PR stories of relief, but check them closely; they help only other JWs and want them to reimburse them with insurance funds, which is fraud.

      • Yes Jehovah’s Witnesses collect donations investing in stocks like pornography,army,politics,NGOs food etc and later borrowing money to congregations to build their Kingdom Halls which later insist it’s not ownership of congregation they sell and send publishers to other Kingdom Hall!
        You see free money,no taxes when investing money to other companies that I can clearly identify as SCAM!They don’t like to pay any taxes and not supporting society!
        What about Jesus commandment to take care of poor and homeless!Oh I forgot they forget this commandment because it’s not financially interesting isn’t it!

      • For me to believe that I need to see some type of proof that they are doing this?

      • When I was studying to become a JW, the sister actually told me sometimes JW’s will do a job with the intent of collecting the insurance $. I understand a JW told you this information but it sounds like information handed down from many others and I doubt it’s true. The congregation I belonged to helped no one; and when they did, it was for people who were very good friends and they were still expecting to be paid! People that gave their time doing landscaping work and maintenance on the KH did so for free and believe me, there were no elders helping! And helping out widows, like it says to do in the bible, none of that was going on, believe me! Face it, they are frauds!

      • “… to assist their members.” You just proved exactly what we’ve been saying, that JWs help only other JWs, and then it’s done by local congregants with little to no help from the headquarters. It’s also only done during disasters; try being an elderly or single person and ask for help from the congregation and all you’ll hear in response are crickets.

  10. Not that I’m surprised that I was given false information, but the woman who taught my bible study told me that JW’s were not a religion. They were an organization or “a way of life” and that they DID pay taxes. I was told they didn’t want to be considered a religion because all religions will be done away with. And when they did come after them, that is when Jehovah would intervene. I was really misinformed. I don’t know how they get away with lying!

    • Wow, those are outright lies but I’ve heard stranger things from JWs. One told me that they actually offer to pay their taxes every year and the government turns them down because of who they are. I laughed out loud, it was so bizarre and so obviously full of garbage.

    • I’m sitting here trying to make a decision on what I am going to do but apparently all I am reading is people that just want to find a reason on why to hate them and only base it off of what they hear instead of researching the information out. People are not perfect so you nor I can expect people to give out the right information all the time. So what they supposedly tried to pay taxes but and was refused. I do not know everything about a non-profit but I know that churches that are suppose to be separate from the government going against IRS rules to stand behind a political figure.

      They signed paperwork saying that they are not going to take sides and they have to stay away from that subject but their are a lot of churches in the news backing these politicians and if they do this I read on the IRS site that they are not allowed to have a non-profit religion. Like I said I like to really dig into things that are side if something is said I actually research it online still do. They go against what they promised the government that they would not do. You have the catholic church and other churches out here that molest children, Churches that require you to show your w-2 so that they can make sure that they get 10% of your income every month. I have friends that have said they were told if they did not put their tiths in they wouldn’t be able to park in the parking lot.

      I even watched documentaries on tv about pastors, bishops, priest, etc that some are there only because of the money that they make. Some say they do not even believe in what they are telling the people that are coming to the church. The one big thing that I haven’t noticed is that Jehovahs Witness are not in the news except good things so far. They talked about Prince and that he was one but nothing else.

      • Maybe you should look at more news stories than what you’re obviously seeing. Visit the news in Australia about the Royal Commission Inquiry and the news stories about what put them on the radar with the UK Charity Commission. As far as offering to pay their taxes, that’s hogwash. You are actually obligated to file returns and include paperwork stating why you are exempt from paying taxes; the government didn’t turn them down because they’re so amazing and holy. I would think anyone would see through that nonsense propaganda.

      • Again it is my point if you clearly look at it. It is like me blaming you for the mistakes of your manager if you had a company. If your manager molested one of your clients children or rapes another employee on your staff. Its a difference if you step in as the head of your company and pressure the person to drop their charge versus someone local doing it. People drop claims everyday on other churches pastors and priest that rape their parishioners, rape the children and it is the pastor that is doing it to protect the church. That does not mean that I am saying that what happened is right at all. Situations like this should never happen there are sick people in this world that profess that they are a servant of God or an entity of God but they can be wrong and mislead everyone. I also see what they are talking about bringing the name of the church down because everyone will blame every single person that is of that religion even if they are good just for the wrong doing of one person.

        There are over 8 million from what I see of Jehovah’s witness so does that mean that you will blame every single one of them saying that they are bad and sex abusers? Again the “pastor” is doing it not everyone in the building. I was abused as a child and I will tell you this. I have become a strong person I will and I have approached the person that abused me I have the power to deal with them. I have called them out for what they did but I will never blame the church he went to or his parents nor anyone else for his as one person for HIS ACTIONS. So if I walk in and say that you raped me they should take my word and punish you the the highest extent of the law and then also hold everyone in your life accountable for what you did. Because they are contributors your friends might be in the same church and they could possibly be abusers as well or they could end up being because they were hanging out with you.

        If one of the people that are responsible for handling matters like this does something wrong he should be punished and dealt with not the whole wide majority of people that are in that religion. So how about this every baptist, every catholic, every protestant, every holiness, everyone that professes that they serve God including myself and you are in the mix are to blame. Dealing with everyone here has made me read the bible a little bit more everyday and I noticed something who gave you or anyone else in the world the right to judge someone else? I read a scripture that says that God is the only one that ever has the right to pass judgement on someone. So does that make it right for anyone of us to pass judgement on all catholics, baptist, protestant, jehovah witness?

        To reply also to your ridiculous comment about taxes I took corporate tax in college and to reply to you the IRS does not like holding on to money that they are not allowed to have based off of the law. If they do not have a return to substantiate the additional monies they will return them because they are held to the law of paying interest on monies that belong to whoever. People ask me questions all the time about why the irs is asking for a report if they have the money. The reason: THEY DO NOT WANT MONEY THAT IS NOT OWED TO THEM. You have idiots in the IRS and you have law abiding people in the IRS. I have received letters from the IRS saying that I owe money to them but after review they ended up owing me and they paid me plus interest. People are wrong, computers are wrong because they are the ones that built the computers.

        To reemphasize my point are you blaming the whole religion for bad people that use it to take advantage of people? Or are you blaming those ones that acted in the wrong? So if your children if you have them when they grow up if they do someone wrong should I hold you accountable or should I hold you along with them accountable?

        Oh and by the way I found out that they are downsizing because they have new tech that does the job faster and more efficient than the large amount of people that they had in there. Just like the military downsized because they have newer tech that allows them to react faster without causing a larger number of deaths. It is lower in cost…. That article is someone’s opinion and not fact.

      • Yes, you took corporate tax in college; that means nothing. Do you work for the IRS? No? Then your opinion and regurgitation of baseless gossip are both immaterial. I’ve heard JWs tell me the same ridiculous story, that they offer to pay taxes and the IRS refuses because they’re such a great organization, and when I ask them, “Says who?”, they have no answer.

        As for child molestation, your illustration of a company is grossly shortsighted. The JW problem with pedophilia is because of the policies and practices of the religion, which originate from the HQ in Bethel and which are given to elders worldwide. We’re not talking about a lone, rogue elder who acts on his own but their actual letters, Shepherd the Flock of God book, etc., which are their official instructions. Read my attorney’s handbook to find out more. The “majority” of people in the religion need to support those instructions; they have no other choice. As for judgment, I don’t care what any “holy book” says, I will gladly, freely, and openly pass judgment on anyone who rapes and molests a child and anyone else who blames the victim, asks them if they enjoyed it, or otherwise abandons them.

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