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YHWH in Hebrew letters

Share Gains for the Watchtower

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Updated January 21, 2020

Regarding the finances of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (WTBTS), the call for greater transparency is getting louder. The desire of many sincere proclaimers has become a demand, which we consider justified.

Therefore, on this page we will show you the path to facts publicly accessible to everyone, and make some considerations in the form of questions. The rating is left up to each reader himself.


Where there is clarity and openness, there is no room
for speculations and question marks.

Every nonprofit organization is obliged to submit a kind of tax return each year. This declaration on the form 990 is published on the internet.

The Watch Tower Bible And Tract Society appears as a beneficiary in the tax return of the Henrietta M. Riley Trust.

Let's take a look at part of the WTBTS income. Don't worry, it's not illegal! These documents are available for inspection on public servers. Here you can find the tax returns of the Henrietta M. Riley Trust:

Öffentliches Verzeichnis der Steuerformulare 990

Mann mit LupeWhat do these dry forms mean?
As an example, let's take a look at the 2014/15 tax year. Here is the direct link:

Form 990 for tax year 2014/15 (PDF)




The Henrietta M. Riley Trust


Who was Henrietta Riley?

Grabstein Henrietta M. RileyMs Henrietta M. Riley, a member of a rather wealthy family, was supposedly a Jehovah´s Witness, or at least sympathized with them. Before she passed away in 1945, she donated a capital to support the Watch Tower Society.

Founded in 1970, the HMR Trust´s sole purpose is to generate equity returns that, after deduction of costs and taxes, flow 100% to the WTBTS. The trust is being managed and supervised by employees of the Comerica Bank in Detroit.

Page 11 of this form shows that the "Henrietta M. Riley Trust"
works for the benefit and general support of WTBTS:

So, in 2015 the HMR Trust generated a net income of $ 696,897 as a general support for the Watch Tower Society.

So are these "Watchtower Shares"? No, the pot of money is "owned by itself", so to speak. The capital is being lent to companies to work with, and they return a part of their earnings to the pot, and these gains are given to and accepted by the WTBTS.

To make a long story short:

This pot of money is not OWNED by the WTBTS. Thus, they do not invest into these companies THEMSELVES. But they are ethically linked because they CONTINUOUSLY ACCEPT these share gains.

Neither does it consist of our donations. It´s the donations of deceased Ms Riley.


Where do the Stock Gains come from?

The thrilling thing starts at page 25:

In which branches are shares been placed?
From which companies´ economic success did the Watch Tower Society have their benefit?

Horrorfilm Saw

The equity portfolio includes ca. 70 companies.

Here are a some of them in alphabetical order (each of the product images taken from the company's own website):


Sector: a.o. Armaments industry,
e.g. combat aircrafts, helicopters, missiles

End of Year Book Value:
$ 6,326

Apache Kampfhubschrauber

Missile Kampfrakete

Sector: a.o. Armaments industry,
e.g. military technology

$ 8,333


Sector: Armaments industry,
e.g. combat aircrafts

$ 4,825


Sector: Entertainment industry,
e.g. Horror movie series "SAW I-VII"

$ 5,227

Horrorfilm Saw

Sector: Agrochemicals, biotechnology,
very aggressive lobbying, environmental scandals

$ 5,647 

Monsanto Chemie und Gentechnik

Roundup Pestizid

Sector: Armaments industry,
e.g. Stealth Bomber B-2 Spirit, combat aircraftF-14 Surveillance Drone RQ-4A Global Hawk

$ 3,337

B-2 Tarnkappenbomber

Sector: Media,
e.g. Softporno, war and mystery movies (subsidiary Cinemax)

$ 4,955 

Mystertyserie Queen of the Damned

Mysteryserie Dominion    Sexgames Cancun


Frivole Soap 2Broke Girls



Was this diversification of equity investments an isolated case? Unfortunately not:


Conclusion: Sadly, the Watchtower continues to accept share earnings from the Armaments industry as well as from questionable Entertainment companies.


And what about the spiritual and moral dimensions of these economic matters?

Any Jehovah´s Witness who learns to kill as a profes­sional soldier will be disfellow­shipped.

Any "rank and file JW" who earns his living in the Arma­ments industry will be shunned if he doesn't cancel his job immediately – at the consequence of losing his family's income.

Anyone who smokes cigarettes is also kicked out – and so is anyone who earns a living in a tobacco shop.


And what about the leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses? Should we not apply the same Christian principles here?

Hand rejecting bloodstained money

If so, there are two ways to chose between:

A) Reject the stock gains of the HMR Trust in total or

B) Reject the specific amounts generated in questionable branches.

And then ... I had a dream ...

Pfeil nach oben

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PDF-Symbol Share-Gains-for-Watchtower-Update.pdf (670 kb)