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News analysis: Inside the Brooklyn Bridge Park deal

The Brooklyn Paper

It’s the billion-dollar boondoggle!

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are poised to make out like moneylenders in the temple under the just-signed deal that allows the city to fund Brooklyn Bridge Park’s annual upkeep with tax revenues from the group’s properties, a Brooklyn Paper analysis reveals.

The deal calls for the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s holdings in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO to be rezoned for residential use — a change that real-estate experts believe will send the value of the Society’s properties well north of $1 billion.

“If they put them on the market now, they’ll be sold very quickly,” said Downtown real-estate broker Chris Havens.

The deal between Mayor Bloomberg and state officials will reduce the amount of luxury condos inside Brooklyn Bridge Park by using new property taxes created after the Watchtower properties are sold and return to the tax rolls.

That money will go into the normal general fund, which will then cover maintenance of the world-class park.

The deal has green advocates seeing red.

“Tax money is supposed to go into the city’s general fund and it’s being diverted to one park,” said Geoffrey Croft, founder of watchdog group New York City Park Advocates. “These types of deals create enormous disparities. Other neighborhoods can’t pay for parks in this way.”

Under the deal crafted by state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) and Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Carroll Gardens), the greater the number of Watchtower buildings that go on the market, the less luxury housing needs to be built inside the park at Pier 6.

Those buildings were projected to bring in roughly $6 million a year in property taxes earmarked for the park. If the properties don’t start yielding sufficient property taxes by 2014, the city, under a new mayor, can move forward with the controversial condos.

Watchtower owns more than 30 properties, but doesn’t pay taxes on any of them under federal laws that exempt religious groups from normal levies.

The religious order will either apply to rezone its properties to residential before selling them, or sell them to developers based on the inflated post-rezoning price. Either way, it’ll mean big bucks for the group.

Havens estimates that one of Watchtower’s most valuable buildings — 25 Columbia Heights, which is part of the group’s administrative offices — could go for $91 million as right now as commercially zoned. It will likely go for at least twice that now that the city is behind the rezoning.

Indeed, One Brooklyn Bridge Park, the former Watchtower property at 360 Furman St., was bought by developer Robert A. Levine for $205 million in 2004.

The city’s deal is the latest funding scheme for Brooklyn Bridge Park — but the only one to gain the support of the wealthy in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, who won’t have to pay anything to maintain the park.

In 2009, Squadron proposed siphoning off some taxes from nearby landowners to pay for the controversial park project’s upkeep. But that went nowhere.

A year later, a committee designated to find alternatives to housing inside the park suggested creating a “park improvement district” that would charge nearby property owners an annual fee. But that went nowhere.

Again, wealthy Brooklyn Heights objected to having to pay.

“Maybe this is all just kind of scheme so Brooklyn’s wealthiest residents somehow don’t have to pay higher property taxes,” said Roy Sloane, president of the Cobble Hill Association and longtime opponent of housing in the park. “Why shouldn’t the immediate adjacent property owners pay more for the park?”

That’s a question that has come up in various forms ever since the the 2002 agreement requiring that the $350-million park raise its own maintenance budget so it wouldn’t become a drain on city and state coffers.

City and state officials decided that luxury housing — in the form of high-rises at John Street in DUMBO, Pier 1 and Pier 6 — was the easiest way to generate revenues for the park. But that scheme has long been under fire from Heights residents — and, indeed, helped propel Squadron into office.

Opponents of housing inside the park joined the anti-tax crowd and hailed Squadron’s call to capture tax revenue from the Watchtower properties as the way to stop future luxury condos within the park.

But former Squadron allies like Sloane say that the deal is fishy and that the senator sold out the park.

“This whole thing feels artificial to me and like it’s all driven by real estate,” Sloane said. “The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been the immense beneficiaries.”

Reader poll

What do you think of the deal? Take our poll below:

Updated 3:10 pm, August 11, 2011: Changes some language to make it clear how the Watchtower property taxes are used.
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Danny from Bangor Me says:
Ahhhhh,here it is the 21st century the Watchtower corporation is *cashing in on the kingdom*.

I was a 3rd generation Jehovah's Witness my entire clan was "liberated" of our financial assets by the Watchtower.-

Danny Haszard
Aug. 11, 2011, 1:32 am
Bklyn Heights Lifer from Bklyn USA says:
Comrade Sloane is quick to feed the village when it's not his ox being gored.
Aug. 11, 2011, 2:16 am
David from Australia says:
Jehovah's Witnesses as always have done well with their five talents (Math 25:14-16) as would be expected from those entrusted with all the the different aspects associated with advancing the interests of God's Kingdom here on earth.
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:18 am
Betty from Brooklyn says:
The Jehovah$ have done for Brooklyn what $cientology has done for Clearwater Florida
Aug. 11, 2011, 5:16 am
jj from Brooklyn says:
very interesting back story.

this all fits nicely into the "park" story — which was always about money more than "park."

if the port authority was allowed to proceed with its planned development in the 1980s — which included some inoffensive LOW RISE housing — we'd have been enjoying a real park for two decades now. instead, in the end, we will end up with a park site overwhelmed by high-rise, view- and light-blocking housing. despite this deal, the incentive will be to build, baby, build, once the housing market heats up again.
Aug. 11, 2011, 7:05 am
ChrisL from ClearwaterFL says:
@Betty--I don't think you've ever lived in Clearwater! The JWs are NOTHING like the Sci-Ties. Clearwater only WISHES that they were. JWs make every effort to obey every law that does not conflict with the Bible. Check the history of the Sci-Ties in Clearwater (or anywhere else) and you will see the difference between night and day...

@DannyH--I've never seen a religious group less concerned about money than JWs. They don't even pass a plate! But they do apply Biblical principles in all things, including their business dealings, so I am not surprised they are coming out ahead. You are either ignorant or dishonest. Either way, you have little credibility.
Aug. 11, 2011, 7:06 am
Roberta says:
The JW have a subtle and sleazy way of gold goading a$$ets from members,esp when your told you won't need retirement saved up cause armageddon is just around corner.

The Watchtower does have a creed of greed.
Aug. 11, 2011, 7:51 am
emeth from the Netherlands says:
Roberta,.. please show me where JW's are or were told that they did not need any retirement.

Please provide me with an official source or quotation.

How can they have a creed of greed if they ,.. give everything away for free... & dont have collection plates or tithing rules?

You sound Jealous
Aug. 11, 2011, 8:07 am
matt from IL says:
What does the writer have against the JW's?
Aug. 11, 2011, 8:29 am
Glen says:
The money the Watchtower gets should go to all those who's lives have been ripped appart by child abuse scandals and those families who have lost loved ones to an age old stance on receiving blood!
Aug. 11, 2011, 8:30 am
Daniel says:
How fabulously wealthy is the Watchtower?

They were (still are) the largest landowner in Brooklyn.
There are 3 million Jews in NY and Brooklyn more than Israel?
Jews are smart successful and often wealthy YET the Adventist Watchtower owns MORE land than the Jewish populace?
This is astounding ....Watchtower like a mini Vatican,which land holdings can now go commercial and be taxed!-Daniel Haszard
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:59 am
Nick from Brooklyn says:
"JWs make every effort to obey every law that does not conflict with the Bible." Well, I guess my bible contains a few more parts than the JWs' version because the day the worker tried to run me over with a snow plow on the front of a truck would constitute murder. Big no-no according to my bible. And, yes the man really did drive straight at me while I was crossing the street.

And, it was brought to my attention that many of the JW building were built by their "volunteers" not real contractors and not up to proper building codes. Who would want to live in a building known to be unsafe?
Aug. 11, 2011, 10:46 am
Craig from Crown Heights says:
I kinda feel like the Witnesses are a bit of a red herring here. Isn't the issue about how greedy the Brooklyn Heights residents are about funding of public space?
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:09 am
Bill from Boerum Hill says:
Got that right, Craig. Squadron and Millman sold out. In giving up the veto over housing, yhey F&%(#!!ed Dumbo and soon, Atlantic Ave. Columbia Waterfront will be the next losers when, oh so sorry, the housing will rise in their part of the "park" at Pier 6, too. Brooklyn Paper, thank you for years of telling the truth on this debacle. Sloane is to be thanked, too.
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:15 am
Bklyn Heights Lifer from Bklyn, USA says:
Craig:

If you believe Comrade Sloane's spin on the matter, it is. Tell me, are you prepared to be taxed on parks and other amenities in Crown Heights? Don't we all pay taxes to NYC so that all parks can be funded and maintained?

We don't tax people who happen to live next to a turnpike, only the people who use it. Frankly, I see a lot of people who easily could be from Crown Heights in BBP, of all ethnicities, religions, etc.

Since the City has effectively privatized the maintenance of BBP (a first for any public park in NYC), how about a usage fee?
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:15 am
Craig from Crown Heights says:
Dear BK Heights Lifer.....

Uhhh What fr@ckin amenities in Crown Heights are you referring to? Are we really making a comparison here?

Perhaps the privatization of the parks' maintenance is PART of the problem?
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:25 am
Blue from NYC says:
@Bklyn Heights Lifer:

Yes, some in Crown Heights may use the park, but the properties immediately adjacent to the park are those who benefit disproportionately in terms of increased property values and accessibility to the waterfront. Not to mention additional business generated by crowds visiting the park from other locales. Increased property tax assessments offset only a small chunk of the former benefit to Heights and DUMBO crowd.

All in all though, just be glad that you get a park. And nobody should blame JW for selling their buildings for a premium. If anything, you should be mad at the City for its zoning policy (and how it sets that policy), or for tax-exemption rules for religious institutions, that force taxpayers to subsidize them, regardless of whether they pray there or not.
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:33 am
bluejam from USA says:
I am happy for Jehovah's Witnesses.
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:45 am
tee gee from sunset park says:
three issues,

1. JW's are no worse than any other religion and in many regards much truer to the bible.
2. JW's do charge for materials - they offer you a cheap pamphlet, you take it and then they ask for a donation. also they print (with volunteer labor) first rate books that are sold...but far below market value
3. the real estate taxes that get earmarked for BB park in effect steals money from every other park in the city.

but in the end i can't complain, we get what we deserve - and obviously from our lack of interest in governance we get the elected officials we deserve.
Aug. 11, 2011, 12:49 pm
Frank from Furter says:
if the value of the buildings near the park go up, then the city makes more money as the assessed value is increased.(subject to limitations for some housing). This money goes into the City's coffers. What the heights objected to was paying an additional fee over and above this as business improvement type additional tax. This was tried in Manhattan for the High Line and rejected. That was a non-started. Condos/coops pay among the highest tax per apartment now anyway. What the Park gets for a building build inside the park on park property is ground lease payments, PILOTS(payment in lieu of taxes) and sometimes an additional payment based on gross sales or other measures. So what is better money from housing in the Park or money from the monied people near the park...including Cobble Hill...

The State actors wanted to take City money to make up for the state's inability to meet its capital call.

This is a new park. Totally new. It shouldn't have to compete and take away money from already existing City parks no matter where they are. That is the basis that this Park was approved. It had to be self funded for maintenance. I am willing to concede that some of the maintenance money should come from capital...as long as the state ponies up its share. If they are unwilling/unable to do that then the original agreement should be kept(with housing kept to the minimum necessary to support that). The other ideas have either been dismissed or debunked.
Aug. 11, 2011, 1:01 pm
Lifer from Cobble hill says:
There will be housing everywhere in this park. Senator Squadron and Joan Milman are to be blamed. Just remember this, folks. Vote for parks. Housing inside this park was not necessary.
Aug. 11, 2011, 2:30 pm
Randall Watters from Brooklyn Heights says:
I worked at the Watchtower headquarters there from 1974 to 1980 for $14 a month. The Watchtower is a 19th century carny religion but is making sure their shill game will last a long time.
Aug. 11, 2011, 3:10 pm
Mike Greene from Candor says:
I have been reading about this for several years now. All the Watchtower Society wanted to do was to unload the property they no longer needed. They would have done so years ago if the ciity got its act together with the developers. So why is anyone blaming Jehovah's Witnesses for things beyond their control?

Yes, there is much hate out there for Jehovah's people. But spare some of that vineagar for the people who can't make any firm decisions on the matter.

Meanwhile, Jehovah's Witnesses continue to do what apparently no one else seems to be able to do: Maintain their properties in top shape even when they would desire to be rid of them.
Aug. 11, 2011, 3:12 pm
Lebroix from Mendez says:
Anyone who feels like they or their families were taken advantage by J.W.s over a period of time were and are just plain stupid and bitter.
Aug. 11, 2011, 3:43 pm
Mad Sweeney from Virginia says:
Anyone who uses ad hominem attacks on their critics usually has no other defense.

The Watchtower is well known to those who pay attention (aka, non-members) as a multi-billion dollar international publishing cult (cult members are always discouraged from investigating the inner workings of their leadership). Profiting from their real estate investments is one of their primary money-making endeavors.

Think it isn't about the money just because they use large boxes for their donations instead of a plate? Really? Does that make any sense at all?

Google "Menlo Park Kingdom Hall" to see just how petty the organization can be about real estate.
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:05 pm
JK PhD from Ex-Newark says:
What exactly does an organization that tells its members NOT to get an education, NOT to pursue a career, and NOT to seek out money need with a billion dollars? Their members aren't supposed to plan for retirment, but the legal organization can function as a real estate holding company?

I'm assuming they will use their windfall to pay for the healthcare of each and every one of their members who were told that they would NEVER grow old.
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:19 pm
Lucy from Washington says:
They need the money to pay off child abuse settlements.
http://www.watchtowerdocuments.com/docs/jw-secrets.html

I sure would like to see them use the money for something good. I'm not hopeful though.
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:30 pm
JK PhD from ex-Newark says:
@emeth from the Netherlands.

Okay..I'll grant that the sentence "don't plan for retirement" never appears in their literature.

However, millions of people were told not pursue education and not to pursue careers. They were also told that they would NEVER grow old, and people who give to the organization to the point of personal hardship ARE idolized in their publications.

I honestly don't know how motivated the organization is by money. But, they need to be held responsible for the millions of people who planed their lives on a false promise and ARE growing old and sickly.

I was a pioneer. Fortunately, I got out early enough to become self-sufficient. Many are not so lucky. The burden for caring for these individuals will fall on the "wordly" governments they have so often prayed to be destroyed.

The money they make on this deal was earned on the backs of their members. It should be returned to those who sacrificed so much.
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:45 pm
estevan from hollywood says:
The JWs hate mankind but I have no issues with owning their property and earning their money.
Aug. 11, 2011, 6:17 pm
Suzanne from StevesBrooklyn says:
The WT doesn't tell them not to plan for retirement -- just to make them the beneficiaries of IRAs and pensions instead of their families. (Ex: WT 1993, 12/1'The Giver of "Every Good Gift"'

Oh, and correct... They don't pass plates or ask for pledges/tithes. But they have multiple contribution boxes in the back of their meeting houses and they give constant reminders to contribute, on top of their indentured servitude as unpaid, tax-free publishing circulation agents.
Aug. 11, 2011, 6:33 pm
Pete Ex cult member says:
@emeth from the Netherlands

Young ones will never grow old or fulfill a career in this system – Awake! May 22, 1969 P15
Aug. 11, 2011, 6:35 pm
GROG from Red Hook says:
1969? Quote mine much?

I went to NYU post grad, studying international business and Im a JW. I work in lower Manhattan trading securities, and know many Doctors, Lawyers, Playwrights, Teachers, Painters, and Architects who are JWs. I also know many My parent...you guessed it...are JWs!!! and they are retired, living quite well, off their investments. Ive also never been molested!

The bitter hate-filled people on here are the sort of people who PASS BLAME. Their lives are failures because they failed. Not their religion. THEM. No amount quote mining, spamming, or trolling will fix that.
Aug. 11, 2011, 7:30 pm
GROG-GY from Red Hook says:
Securities trader in Red Hook? The neighborhood is really damned!
Aug. 11, 2011, 9 pm
JK PhD from Ex-Newark says:
@ GROG

The qoute from 1969 is important because the people who were 18/19/20 at THAT time are now 60 years old. THAT is retirment age. Precisely the point I was making. In all good concious, the organization should be using their windfall to provide for every baby boomer in their organization who planed their life around their false promise.

Further if know the people you mention well, you know that either: a) they were those things before they were converted (or were well on their way to becoming them), or b) went against the organizations strongly suggested direction in order to go to school.

BTW: Resorting to name calling is really a great debate technique. I'm sure your alma mater would be proud. Who did you have for your organizational behavior and human resource classes? It's possible I know them quite well...
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:02 pm
Pete ex cult member says:
@ GROG

Young ones will never grow old or fulfill a career in this system – Awake! May 22, 1969 P15
Only months until Armageddon - Watchtower Sept 15, 1941 P28
"...the 'battle of the great day of God Almighty' (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present ruler ship, is already commenced," (The Time Is at Hand, 1908 edition, p. 101).
"The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914," (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1922, p. 262)
. "Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to his faith in a coming deluge," (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1923, p. 106).
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:12 pm
Jk Phd from Ex-Newark says:
I'm pulling out the typos and bad grammer today...apologies (my alma matter would also be proud).
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:14 pm
Robin Morgan says:
Very shrewd use of worldly assets. What person wouldn't get as much as possible for their property. Jehovah's Witnesses have been very good for the Brooklyn neighborhood and the properties it owns, as many past news articles will attest. What deals the government makes is another matter. We have nothing to do with that and cannot influence it in anyway. Disaffected ex-Jw's commenting here are mostly bitter about what they think is harsh treatment at the hands of a man made organization. Please look into the facts, then decide. Don't listen only to Internet opposers.
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:23 pm
Pete ex cult member says:
@ Robin

Please, please get a clue will you! You think that young children battered and abused by jw's, who were following their teachings and actively encouraged to do so, are bitter really??? These people have ruined many many lives, its not about being bitter its about being hurt by fully grown men when your only 4 or 5. This nothing to do with internet this is to do with my very clear memory of what they did to ME.
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:31 pm
Steve says:
Funny how postings by JW's always seem to think that the only true source of information of their societies history can be found from their own society..lol. Everything else is slander or a conspiracy by the forces of evil no less. The latter of course will be destroyed oh so soon as it has always been for the last 125 years. They are incredulous when you provide them quotes from their own literature in the past as they never hear any self criticism (of the governing body) in their magazines, it is always pointing at other religions faults. Pictures in their magazines of Christendom's priests running in sheer terror from Jehovah's retribution. The funniest thing is their arrogance in calling their religion "the truth" and the fact that if you criticize their organization it is as if you criticize god himself. Their god is the governing body, not Jesus or Yahweh as only their interpretation has authority. Watch them run away from a national anthem in sheer terror as the governing body is the REAL Authority. What charlatans.
Aug. 11, 2011, 10:20 pm
NO Shill from Watchtower land says:
Whenever the Jehovah's Witnesses start to lose an argument they will SHILL.

GROG (Steve Klemetti) above with his 'education' credentials is a total made up fraud like his Watchtower cult of pure psychopaths.

Jehovah's Witnesses shun higher education it's almost enough to get you kicked out of their cult.

WHY? Because cults don't want you to learn critical thinking skills.
Aug. 11, 2011, 10:39 pm
Michael T from Pine Plains says:
People seem to forget the shape of the properties the Jws bought many many years ago. Some where falling down and doomed for teardown. They where bought with donated money, Was it your money ? did it harm you ? NO It was repaired and mantained by volunteer labor? How did this hurt you lazy ass Danny hassard. Because you sleep around and got aids , they kicked you out. The very few people who are saying the most negative here are just scorned because they could not live up to the rules of the JWs. Know how many people get fired from Macdonalds every day and have nothing better to do that sit on their butt and complain about how bad they where treated. If they have 20 zillion dollars and its not your money how does that give you cause to complain. WHat have you found that has something better to offer??? All negatives against these people but you haven,t found anything thats near as good . I would love to be counted amoung their number but I dont live up to bible standards liek they require. Maybe someday?
Aug. 11, 2011, 10:39 pm
Steve says:
Michael it is pretty presumptuous of you to state the negative comments here are from those who could not live up to the organizations standards. How do you know all the people criticizing here were angry people kicked out by God's conduit. It could not possibly be for any objective reasons right, since your beloved organization has a virtual monopoly on the truth. When I want to know the truth about science..i contact the governing body with all of their science degrees and meticulous work in the field. The distressing thing about this organization is how they warp minds and turn their members into closed minded ideologues which of course they have to become to be "saved" according to 12 new york state bible students who have been wrong time and again and yet act as if they are the real gatekeepers to gods kingdom. You can dream to live up to their standards but why would you want to subject yourself to men who really don't know the truth either. Do they reside in the heads of the biblical authors and know the latters intent? Is the bible really a book of all goodness? Try reading it...you really have to be warped to accept the extermination of innocent children that happened again and again (flood, S&G, caananite tribes, egyptian firstborn etc etc)..oh feel the goodness. You can be as polite and kind as you want..but what one believes really decides whether one is good or evil. If you truly think it is just that all the muslims, hindus, atheists, catholics, protestants etc should be exterminated for their beliefs and only your little group is saved...that is the epitome of evil.
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:16 pm
Corey from Kensington says:
I found out about the Watchtower corporation the hard way. My grandmother was visited by them regularly, and the ones who my brother, sister and I met seemed very nice and attentive. They seemed to be like any other Christian group, except they had an unusual amount of literature apart from the Bible. After about a year a couple of women moved in with her, and took care of cleaning and errands for gran. She seemed happy with that arrangement and everything seemed okay to me, but my sister smelled a rat. She kept warning me that something was not right. These women were doing something called pioneering, which is like full time recruiting for the church, so they did not make much money from jobs. Sis kept a close eye for them stealing, but things seemed on the up and up and I joked that she was being paranoid. I found out Sis was right about them when it was too late. Gran passed away three years after they moved in with her and we got the shock of our lives when we went to her place to do inventory and figure out what to do with her possessions. We were met by a man we did not know and he informed us that the house belonged to the Watchtower corporation and we had no right to be there. I was stunned. I think about my grandpa working hard all his life, much of it in the depression years, and everything he left behind was taken and gobbled up by this greedy corporation that holds enormous amounts of wealth. I am convinced that the religion part is a false cover for a money making operation.
Aug. 12, 2011, 12:51 am
Martin Says: says:
As reported from another newspaper, "Brooklyn Daily Eagle" says:

Watchtower is known for its immaculate and well-kept buildings, so there should be no problem in attracting buyers, according to Knakal.

“Each of the properties presented for sale have been maintained according to the incredibly high standards of care and attention that Watchtower is particularly well-known for. The Witnesses' award-winning restoration and maintenance of their properties is well-documented.”
Aug. 12, 2011, 5:28 am
Alex says:
This Jehovah's Witness religion makes a big deal about it not 'taking collection plates' at assemblies or Kingdom Hall meetings. Yet they encourage brainwashed elderly people to leave their estates to its financial holdings and they guilt everyone who is a member to do everything for the corporation for free. People can't grasp in this group that the Watchtower is a human organization and God is a separate being.
Aug. 12, 2011, 6:18 am
Grain of Salt from Cobble Hill says:
Roy Sloane and his wife Judi Francis have been some of the most vocal proponents of using taxes from the Watchtower Properties to fund the park, despite the City's repeated explanations that such a plan would divert money that woukd otherwise go to the general fund. In light of their multiple public statements in support of the Watchtower arrangement, one can only assume that their current self-contradictory campaign against the deal and against the local officials who struck it is the result of some perceived political slight rather than any actual moral objection to using taxes from the Watchtower Properties.
Aug. 12, 2011, 7:53 am
Egbert from Netherlands says:
Did Jesus really care about buildings which were made for free (nearly) and sold for a lot of money? These ABC transactions, really have nothing to do with kingdom-assets...
Aug. 12, 2011, 8:53 am
settingthingsstraight from USA says:
Lies lies lies. Jw's are NOTHING any of the JW haters/persecutors are saying. If u want to know what they believe go to watchtower.org or even jw.org.

Fyi this Danny hanszard guy is on EVERY news article with the word Jehovah's name on it ready to post my slander about them. He must be using an app that searches for key words such as jw or Jehovah ...etc. he's a liar.
Aug. 12, 2011, 11:11 am
settingthingsstraight from USA says:
*correction...ANY slander. Not *my slander. Android lag.
Aug. 12, 2011, 11:13 am
Steve says:
Setting...are you saying the only source of truth is from the horses mouth and everything else is a lie? How do you know? Are you aware of all the false end of world predictions according to that organization? 1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, 1975 and in the 80's and 90's the "generation that saw 1914 would see the end?" Oh its another "new light" to replace the old one that didn't work. How do you know the new new new light will be better than the new new light based on past evidence?

How bout their great past medical recommendations of avoiding vaccinations and organ transplants (that undoubtably cost lives) in the past that they reversed later on? Great medical advice eh? Yes trust the brothers unconditionally..or else paradise is in doubt.

Do they give you both sides of the issue such as with their ever stating propaganda about how the few thousand JW Germans in the 30's and 40's resisted Hitler when they conveniently don't mention the 1934 Rutherford letter appeasing Hitler basically saying "hey, we are not the Jews and we sympathize with you in that the Anglo-Americans are the true evil in this world." Pretty heroic eh? Also the fact that the organization was not against Hitler at that time and during the war..the Witnesses position was actually neutrality..and who liberated the JW's from the concentration camps? Hmm..allied soldiers perhaps? But you were against them too.

Even their website is pure propaganda. They list scientists who believe in god and yet when I saw the list I recognized 3 of the 5 and they are all believe in evolution..the site didn't mention that though. Always selective and manipulative quotes to further an ideological agenda at the expense of the truth.
Aug. 12, 2011, 12:57 pm
JK PhD from Ex-Newark says:
@ settingthingstraight

Don't forget jwfacts.com to get a more complete picture of the history and less known doctrine. They do a good job of providing time lines and citing primary sources and providing scans of actual literature.

Personally, I find the letter to Hitler (scan of actual documents on the website) and the discussion of their "generation" teaching most interesting.
Aug. 12, 2011, 1:04 pm
Danny Haszard says:

$$$ Watchtower money ghouls for God $$$

TRUE STORY

I Danny Haszard gave all my money to the Watchtower building fund during my youth when I was making big bucks in the construction trade union.I did so because they lied to me that i would never need it for my retirement.Well I am 54 years old and I do need all my money back now that it's 2011 and the 'end of the world' is overdue.

The Watchtower religious racket also got all my grandfather's and my father's savings.

The Watchtower one year before the foretold end of the world 1975,was a time that I remember they were ordering the rank and file JW followers to liquidate their assets and go all out for the Kingdom of God.

The late 1960's was also a time period that Brooklyn H.Q. was really crying poor mouth ( JW children were sending in their piggy banks {Jehovah's pennies} I was giving them my paper route and egg money from my 20 hens).

I alone have been extorted tens of thousands of dollars of my life savings by the greedy charlatans as an adult.
Get this! My elderly Grandfather Roger Haszard and MY Grandmother Ruth Haszard are living in Largo Florida usa circa 1987,(now deceased).

We get an emergency conference call from my uncle Wallace on 'what are we going do do with our aging patriarch as they are becoming helpless and are in need of a part-time nurse'.

My grandfather is busted as he gave all his assets to the Watchtower and his estate is all going to the Watchtower when they die.

There is no emergency cash to free up so the family now has pitch in to pay for their care.
The Watchtower has occasional hypocritical articles on caring for our elderly,they don't reveal how countless family's get into this bind on account of their wicked advice.
---

Staying Alive Until 1975 Danny Haszard
Aug. 12, 2011, 2:18 pm
Tonic from Cobble Hill says:
If only I got a cut of the JW's profit - no, I signed a vow of poverty along with thousands of others, making their huge profit possible.

As a former Elder-Bethelite-Pioneer who also served in Ecuador, I can tell you it's FACT that higher education and full-time work is highly discouraged. Of course, once you get higher education and can think clearly, you'll question all the garbage you were taught all your life. No wonder they discourage it.

The JW's update their beliefs constantly - and used to say 'Millions Now Living Will Never Die!" ...except all of those people are dead now.
Aug. 12, 2011, 2:35 pm
AG from Free Will says:
No one was complaining 40 years ago when the JW's were buying property others found not worthy of investment. Geez, is it not EXPECTED that a real estate asset show SOME appreciation after a half a century.

Each and every one of us living today have the free will to do what we want. The last time I checked you're not obligated to give or sign over any assets unless you want to.

I feel for any victims of abuse in any form but, there are unscrupulous individuals in every business, religion, & government... That doesn't make the whole group/system responsible or corrupt! If a private banker rips off millions of dollars from individuals... Is the CEO or Board to blame? Of course not, there's NO way that he/they would know or be able to keep track of EVERY transaction with the company. I just don't see the reasoning behind some arguments...

May we find it in our hearts to forgive regardless of the injustice, small or large, committed against us. As this opens up the opportunity for our own errors to be forgiven.
Aug. 12, 2011, 5:12 pm
Alex from Canada says:
"settingthingsstraight from USA"
I have checked out alot of what Danny has said an it is true. That in my opinion makes you and the Watchtower the liars.
Keep up the good work Danny Haszard. Keep showing the truth about the self proclaimed 'truth'.
Aug. 12, 2011, 9:44 pm
AJ from Brooklyn Heights says:
When Jehovah's Witnesses moved into Brooklyn Heights over 100 years ago, they made every effort to go above and beyond NY's building codes and standards, even reverting to keeping property in it's original vintage condition, to their credit and much expense.

It wasn't necessary and they easily could've bypassed it, but they chose to follow the rules and consequently other residents in this beautiful area of Brooklyn followed their example. This has benefited property owners in the immediate vicinity of the area, yes even increasing everyone's value, after all it's not easy to just go over in this area to purchase a brown stone, you have to be worth 10's or 100's of millions to own one.

People who never lived there wouldn't understand how much work and money went into gutting, restoring and the daily, monthly and yearly keeping up with these properties to antique conditions, even restoring copper and brass railings, doors, trimmings and marble, to name a few.

Brooklyn Heights owes Jehovah's Witnesses big time for doing this, as many properties that were purchased over the years here were dilapidated pieces of junk unfit for human living, complete with rats galore and wall to wall roaches, drunks, drug addicts, prostitutes and the like.

If it weren't for JW's Brooklyn Heights would be a crummy ghetto like the rest of Brooklyn.
Aug. 12, 2011, 11 pm
Florence from El Cajon says:
JWs don't pass the plate huh? I can see why not. A collection plate is nickles and dimes compared to the charitable giving article they publish in the Watchtower suggesting that members donate their estate, jewelry, stocks and investments to the corporation. See the Watchtower of November 2007 and it will show that this is true. I went to a JW convention at the stadium in San Diego and I saw they had contribution boxes at every exit. I personally witnessed this to be so. Why settle for some meager chump change in a plate when you can go after the big bucks of an estate?
Aug. 12, 2011, 11:08 pm
Colin from far away says:
I am one of those volunteers who helped build these buildings, we have a lot pf professionals who are volunteering and if you think were unsafe, go to Joplin and see what people have done to those buildings, we are almost fimished because the houses were structurally unstable, alot of other organizations put new siding and roofing on those houses but didnt replace the supports we jehovahs witnesses stayed and made sure it was done right. if you dont believe hire an inspector and find out for yourself, we are also not greedy we have been in New York for a long time, and everything is voluntary, if someone thinks armmagedon will come soon and doesnt prepare encase it takes longer then expected, the consequences are their fault, so make sure you know what you sre talking about before you bad mouth us.
Aug. 13, 2011, 1:25 am
Alex from Canada says:
"so make sure you know what you sre talking about before you bad mouth us."~Colin from far away

Yet the Watchtower organization through its multiple publications and meetings bad mouths every other religion for over 120 years. If anyone else shows the false predictions, flip flops of doctrine or dishonest twisting of historic facts and scholarship then JW members cry foul.
Sorry Colin but you can't have your cake and eat it too.
Aug. 13, 2011, 6:44 am
jk phd from ex-newark says:
Just so people are clear on my position, I'm happy for the people who live in the area. I used to service a couple of super high end audio/video accounts in the area and it's beautiful. I also don't have a problem with the dollar value of the sale. I just think they should give a bunch of their windfall to the members who planed their lives on their false promise that they would never grow old. That money should be put in a fund to care for their elderly (who were told they would never grow old and that university education was a waste of time). As consequence of these teaching, the JWs are the least educated and second poorest of all religious groups.

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/05/15/magazine/15-Leonhardt.html?ref=magazine
Aug. 13, 2011, 10:52 am
Obama? from Brooklyn Heights says:
Problem–Reaction–Solution

Problem–Brooklyn Heights has hotels that have become rundown SROs & filled by City agencies with “undesirables.” Oh my!

Reaction–We must do something about this! But alas, what can be done?

Solution–”Dump” them on the Watchtower at a fraction of what they’re worth! Those clean-cut Witnesses will rid us of the unsavory “undesirables” & make those worthless buildings look spiffy-new again! God bless those Witnesses, they’re so diligent & wholesome!

So who’s to mind years later when those deserving Witnesses make enormous profits on those once “distressed” properties!? God love them!

The anatomy of a scam.

P.S. Why are all the Watchtower's foot soldiers told to gleefully await the end of the world via Armageddon, while the leadership gets richer & richer through real estate profiteering???
Aug. 13, 2011, 11:23 am
LaDawn from Hemet says:
I studied with the witnesses for several months. The ones I met were polite. They knew their books really well, but the Bible was a mystery to them. I have read it several times and none of them I knew had read it through even one time all the way. Instead, they have a constant schedule of reading literature that refers to Bible verses. I always looked them up and often the verse did not say what the literature did. Even though they were very friendly while I studied, I noticed they would tell me about BBQs and things they would do together, they would not ever invite me. Yet at the same time they were telling me I should withdraw from my friends because they were being directed by Satan. This would effectively isolate me, and yet they were not willing to be my friends. When they had a big convention in San Diego I attended. I was expecting there would be a lot of praise for God there. Not so much, instead of praise for God, they praised themselves. People got up at the pulpit and boasted about how much ministry they were doing, some boasted about quitting their job and cutting back expenses so they could do ministry full time. Other speakers boasted about the organization, and boasted about how their leaders are the only men able to accurately teach the Bible. Not one word or song of praise to Jesus was spoken at that meeting, it was mostly self congratulations. After that, I quit studying with them. Like I said, they are polite people, but they are really full of themselves, not any humility.
Aug. 13, 2011, 12:06 pm
Bob Stone from Brooklyn Heights says:
The actual nexus of this story shouldn't be the Watchtower Society. It's really about the covert, backroom deal made by our local electeds and their enablers. One can speculate about what was offered to Sen. Squadron, Assembymember Millman and Councilmember Lander (I'll give Councilmember Levin a pass on this, since he seems at least a little embarrassed about abandoning his, till now, enthusiastic supporters). Or, maybe they were threatened, it doesn't really matter.

When the developers, who form the de facto governnment of NYC, are ready to build the housing on Pier Six, Millman will be retired, and the others will be on to their next political jobs. When that happens, I'll do what I can to return them to earning a living more or less honestly.

It shouldn't have turned out this way.
Aug. 13, 2011, 12:36 pm
Tyler from San Bernardo says:
Often times, people only hear what they want or do not listen completely. This was the case with some of Jesus disciples at John 6:52-69. Some left Jesus because they did not get the full and true sense of what he taught. They were disgusted with Jesus and no doubt bad-mouthed him.

There are generations of successful Witnesses who have attended universities, maintained beautiful homes, have and had retirement accounts. No doubt they were balanced and listened attentively.

Often times, these bitter angry ones, truly had no spirituality in the first place. They were dedicated to men or an organization,....not to Jehovah God. Thus, they paid more attention to what humans said then what Jehovah teaches in the Scriptures. And thus they failed to have sound, balanced thinking.
Aug. 13, 2011, 12:41 pm
Danny Haszard from Maine says:
Tyler above you would make Satan proud posting your devious psychopath shill for them.

The MOST *spiritual* of all Jehovah's Witnesses were the pioneer missionaries who lived hand to mouth all their lives I personally have bought numerous cars for them with my high wages that I was earning.I made good money and put 'kingdom interest first with my *unrighteous Riches*.

How dare you quote thump a Bible scripture to support your made up shill.The very few educated and wealthy JW were the ones who IGNORED counsel on putting the Watchtower first,and yes many of them are probably better off now.
Aug. 13, 2011, 1:06 pm
jk phd from ex-newark says:
My dog in this fight is about my parents. I'm financially well off. They are in their 60s, are still very active witnesses, and are in for a really bad time. They will be dependent on the government for their old age care. There are many others like them. I can't help them out because they are not allowed to talk to me. Yes, I'm emotional.

@ Tyler from San Bernardo, the following are the two questions all JWs must answer before they are allowed to be baptized.

1. On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will? (This is okay)

2. Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization? (Not so okay).

I'd be careful talking about your point of view among JWs. If you are witness, and you publicly state your opinion, and don't back down, you WILL be thrown out for apostasy. I'm not quibbling with their right to religious freedom and to control membership.

I do have a problem with a billion dollar windfall not being used to take care of their own, especially when their members will be dependent on entitlement programs run by the governments they pray will be destroyed.
Aug. 13, 2011, 1:13 pm
Billy from Bethel says:
I, too, had foolishly signed the vow of obedience and poverty. I worked a total of more than 15 years as a Bethelite on Watchtower properties. As instructed at the District Conventions this summer, ex-Jehovah's Witnesses, or "apostates" are labeled prideful, impatient, and ungrateful murmurers against God's true channel, the Governing Body. During the Saturday drama, two families portrayed exemplary JWs by quitting their jobs to spend more time recruiting for Watchtower. The daughter was portrayed negatively for wanted to do "worldly" social work. The older son was vilified for bringing up something scientific like "endosybiotic theory". The Saturday afternoon program specifically mentioned college and vacation as things that alienated people from God. As noted by the JWs that have posted here, JWs are idiots if they believe the stuff that Watchtower teaches, eh?

Of course, these are things that JWs do not want nonJWs to know about. Personally, I've had no problem living by the moral standards. My problem has been that Watchtower is a cult and I was a victim. After many promises that they would take care of us Bethelites, I was among the ones later asked to leave... because I had health problems. Yep, at 40 I got dumped out without unemployment benefits, health insurance, decent work references, an education, or any savings. That's how they make money. I was an idiot to believe the stuff Watchtower promised.

Sure, Watchtower will make lots of money on this deal. But they will run out of Brooklyn real estate to sell, and they will run out of foreign branches to liquidate. What do you do with a 19th century religion that has survived until the 21st century then? I'm now an honors student in university and Watchtower is no longer my problem. The government has been very generous in supporting my life and education. But I hate to see all the people still being misled by their promises of "paradise soon" that cause people to ruin their own lives like I did.
Aug. 13, 2011, 3:05 pm
Tyler from San Bernardo says:
Sad,.....but another one who was dedicated to an organization and not to Jehovah himself. If this person was truly dedicated to Jehovah, he would have had full faith in Hebrews 13:5....where Jehovah says to be content with present things and that he would never forsake or leave you.

The constant complaining highlights their previous worship of men or an organization instead of God Almighty himself.
They actually appear to be very foolish.

But alas, they may have to eventually be forced into getting a balanced view when their next organization, whatever it may be, or even they themselves fail to give them permanent true peace and security.
Aug. 13, 2011, 3:38 pm
Notreally from San Fernando says:
Tyler, are you just ignorant about how people are baptized in that religion? They are now baptized in the name of the Watchtower Society. You tell me why they changed the questions for baptism in 1985 and added that little nugget in there?

And the fact that every JW worships men does not stop there.

Ask yourself, how about a baptized individual who is versed in Archeology and disagrees with the WTS time line regarding 607 BCE? Would they not be disfellowshipped for disagreeing with the "faithful and discreet slave" despite their worship to God not being one bit changed?

You prove to me how JWs don't worship men, because the evidence is clear.
Aug. 13, 2011, 7:42 pm
leandro from downtown says:
the Jw's ever do the your buildings on the law. Let be the human's law or God's law.
Aug. 13, 2011, 8:55 pm
leandro from bronx says:
the Jw's ever do the your buildings on the law. Let be the human's law or God's law
Aug. 13, 2011, 8:56 pm
w.h. conley from brooklyn says:
Every member of JW's are told not to pursue riches or even worry about retirement as that's lacking faith in God. Yet they invest the money received from their members and make billions. They have lawyers to protect pedophiles and their own assets. They close down and sell branches that members built free of charge thinking the were advancing the gospel of christ.

Organized religion is a racket.
Aug. 14, 2011, 3:24 am
emeth from the netherlands says:
All this talk about money.. money..

Money is one thing JW's in general are not that worried about. Its a non-issue for JW's . They never had any lack of money... ever.

So what will they do with all their money? The same things as they did the last 150 years or so.

Use it to proclaim the coming of Gods Kingdom

In more languages,.. reaching more people and with more tools to do so. Helping more people to get a better understanding of Gods plan.

That is what is keeping them busy. And they will do so till the moment Jehovah instructs His people that it is finished.
Aug. 14, 2011, 6:55 am
cat from windsor terrace says:
I'm actually more interested in how the city and state sold out the park and further privatized. while I would be interested to learn more about Jehovah's Witnesses religion, it's not the big issue in the story as far as I can see.

Were Squadron and Millman pressured by Bloomberg Admin which loves to privatize any park in sight? Wishing for every neighborhood to seemingly look the same, glass buildings, homogenized, luxury businesses with tax breaks to corporations and developers?

This Mayor cannot be out of office soon enough. But it's true, what someone said, it's our fault for putting up with this government and not making more of an effort to be INVOLVED and speak out in any way possible. I work on park issues but couldn't add this one into my mix - tho' it seemed like it had an organized group working on it. I would say that Bklyn Bridge Park anti-housing and anti-privatization Advocates needed to be flyering about this EVERYWHERE. Not just gathering at small meetings. It should (and can) still be publicized.

This deal should not be tied to the Watchtower properties clearly.

The problem is the overly lavish parks they feel the need to spend money on while everything around us is crumbling and there's no money for the maintenance of the parks themselves? Why can't anything be scaled back a bit? I understand with the Bloomberg Admin - this is part of their grand plan so that the area around the parks will also increase in real estate value but it's a very FLAWED way of dealing with these issues.

Parks are public spaces not real estate props

Separately - I heard they chopped down some trees including a glorious willow tree to make room for "Jane's Carousel" and ran out of money to do it. Or is that old news?
Aug. 14, 2011, 9:28 am
Frank from Furter says:
I don't know about the trees but the Carousel is being entirely funded by the Walentas who have also given an endowment to it....and is on schedule.
Aug. 14, 2011, 6:59 pm
Gary from Dublin says:
Message for apostate & ex-JW: Here we go again... This blog gets overwhelmed by the same bunch of apostates who have nothing less to do than that: discriminating God's name. the fact is that they are too proud and arrogant to come back in God's favour. So what they do? They attack JWs and the WT and as the Bible depict them so well: "they are like dogs eating up their own vomit"
Aug. 15, 2011, 2:04 pm
KathyfromCuyahoga Falls says:
I've read many words on this site and much is not worth the time to read. All bibles say the same thing, that words can build up or tear down. Matt. 12:37 " by your word you will be condemned. John 17:17," Your word is truth". The issues here to be discussed were suppose to be the selling of property in Brooklyn Hgts. but it has turned into a smear and hate campaign. If people are truly concerned about what is going on in their community then get educated and involved, and in a positive way. All the hate in the world will never make a situation better or resolved the issues. There are many groups out there that will be held in account for the actions of it's members, so why throw stones. Just make sure that what you are doing is above reproach. My Dad who was a Dr. of psychology told me that people that can't achieve have to make themselves feel better by tearing others down. He definitely was not a JW but very Catholic. I think he would ask,' why are you bothering to read this page, it's really non-beneifical.
Aug. 15, 2011, 6:42 pm
Alex says:
Thanks for your diatribe Gary from Dublin.
Same word for word, idea for idea crap that every brainwashed victim of your religion spouts off.
Maybe some day one of you will come up with something original and not from the Watchtower Society.
Aug. 15, 2011, 6:55 pm
Tron from Jacinto says:
I'm glad I have been brainwashed. This world is a filthy place.
Aug. 15, 2011, 8:54 pm
Alex says:
The gospel according to the Watchtower Oganization (Jehovah's Witness American made religion)

"The good news is the world is so bad"
Aug. 15, 2011, 10:33 pm
David from BrookHeights says:
Well, I felt safe having the JWs here.
A lot of the comments I read here make me scrared.
Aug. 16, 2011, 12:50 pm
Peter from brooklyn says:
Get rid of the homo's in Brooklyn and it will be a nicer place!
Aug. 16, 2011, 10:34 pm
Peter from brooklyn says:
and get rid of this newspaper
Aug. 16, 2011, 10:35 pm
Charles from LA says:
Dear Reader and fellow human,
Hello. My name is Charles. Many here in this Commentary would tell you that you are a FOOL if you believe what I say and that I am 'misled' or 'brainwashed' or much worse. Of course, they can't let you decide for yourself. (Am I stupid? I have an IQ of 146 if that matters to you). What matters most is that you be a person that seeks the TRUTH...about ALL things, whatever that point of truth may be. Then you are a lover of Truth and will appreciate the extremely important message in the content of this post. Read it, along with the scriptural references herein, very carefully. If you do not have a Bible, feel free to use the one online at www (dot) watchtower (dot) org. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
If you have read all the previous Comments up to this point, you have no doubt noticed many extremely negative and in fact even slanderous comments about Jehovah's Witnesses. According to the Bible, this vilification is a good thing! Why? Because Jesus Christ said that his TRUE followers would be objects of hatred by the nations. (Matthew 10:22) (John 15:20) Basic Truths are what humans need to find out. Jehovah's Witnesses believe He has made them abundantly clear by giving mankind The Bible. JW’s model their lives and their organization according to the Bible’s principles for Christian living contained therein.
ALL of us are in the midst of a Spiritual war between Jehovah God and Satan, the Devil. Yes, he is real and not in a fiery Hell with a pitchfork. He is loose in spirit form on this earth and fomenting badness at every turn. He is the source of all the sick, demented acts...look around! And there is no way to NOT take sides in this war! Jesus said that if you are not on his side, you are against him. (Luke 11:23)
Also, there have been mistakes, incorrect conclusions drawn over the years. And yes, individuals among the ranks have committed very bad deeds. They are, after all, an Organization filled with imperfect people. But do mistakes or the actions of individuals necessarily invalidate the entire Belief set? Are JW’s doctrinally WAY OFF the trail of Truth because of that? Were ALL the Apostles abandoned by God because Judas was a traitor? NO!
Additionally, Jehovah has ALLOWED mistaken conclusions to occur among his peoples here on earth as his people search for Truth and understanding. According to the Bible, Jesus’ followers were doing that in his very presence right up to the time he went back to Heaven. (Acts 1:6-8)
Jehovah's Witnesses are a progressive, forward-looking and moving organization. Christ's TRUE followers have always been so, asking Jesus himself: "When will these things be....what will be the sign of the conclusion of this system of things?"
The revealing of Truths has been progressive, likened to a light that is getting brighter and brighter. Thus, adjustments have had to be made to keep in line with revealed Truth. To do otherwise would be to put Tradition ahead of revealed Truth.
And some have made statements like “I can't help my parents out because they are not allowed to talk to me” is a total distortion. They are not prevented from talking to him by any man or Organization of men. THE BIBLE however, has much to say about SOCIALIZING with people who have had to be disfellowshipped (excommunicated) due to THEIR OWN PRACTICE OF UNCHRISTIAN CONDUCT WITHOUT REMORSE. TRUE Christians CHOOSE of their own volition not to speak to such ones out of obedience to Christ’s instructions and their own moral protection. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)(1 Peter 1:14-16)
Make no mistake: The Bible warned that there would be those that would do everything in their power to dissuade Truth seekers FROM God’s Truth.
(2 Peter 3:3-7) true Christians would be treated...just like Jesus was...by the world as a whole and by their Judas Iscariot-like former brothers who have apostatized
Many of these claim LIBERATION and enlightenment, yet a close examination of the lives of many of these reveal a descent or RE-descent into such selffamily-destroying practices as drug and alcohol addiction, gambling and much worse. And in an attempt to validate their choice under the guise of warning others, they cannot resist 'beating' their former associates who continue to strive to pursue and practice truth and remain faithful to Jehovah God and his son, Jesus Christ and the revealed Truths in the Bible. (2 Peter 2:20-22) Beware: More of their ‘vomit’ is sure to follow!
You though, research what I am saying for yourself! Don’t let others decide for you! READ these scriptures for yourself. Talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses. GO UNDERCOVER to one of our Halls or Conventions and see for yourself. You will find NO other organization on the face of this earth that is more united in worship, display love for God, Truth and one another, and practicing more accurately the teachings of Jesus Christ as written in God’s Word, the Bible. (In fact, you can check out ‘watchtower (dot) org’ anytime!)
Aug. 16, 2011, 11:13 pm
Alex says:
Thank you Charles from LA for the Watchtower info commercial that is available from any member who is quilted in going to 5 weekly meetings and forced to read publication after publication of Watchtower reasoning. Each member then presents these canned presentations as if they are their own conclusions.
Throw in some bible references and pretend it is all from Gods spokespersons. The Watchtower Organization.
Aug. 17, 2011, 1:16 pm
Wes Gordon from Charlotte, NC says:
"Poised to make out like moneylenders in the temple?" What a laugh! There is nothing illegal or immoral here, just silly jealousy and low-brow journalism.
Aug. 17, 2011, 6:10 pm
Jeff from Connecticut says:
What would Brooklyn Hts look like if the WT hadn't kept things up for 100 years? Historic buildings would have been razed and the area would have slid down the proverbial toilet.
Aug. 17, 2011, 10:31 pm
Alex says:
"Also, there have been mistakes, incorrect conclusions drawn over the years. And yes, individuals among the ranks [the Watchtower Organization] have committed very bad deeds. They are, after all, an Organization filled with imperfect people."~Charles from LA

Yet if anyone dares question or disagree with any teachings of this group, discipline up to and including permanent shunning from your own friends and family members who are JW's. That includes if one chooses to leave this group. You will be LABELED for life 'apostate' and bible vs such as 'a dog returning to its vomit'.
Notice above the smooth scripted well practiced almost fraud like convincing that Charles and others have been trained to present. Truely this is a dangerous high control group.
Aug. 18, 2011, 10:46 am
Dave from USA says:
All of you morons out there should get FACTS first and post a comment and therefor not PROVE how STUPID you are. You run your mouths like a drunk idiot not knowing what you are saying. If you do not have first hand experience with a people or group or the politics that are going on you SHOULD shut your dim whitted mouth.
Aug. 18, 2011, 8:37 pm
Alex says:
And how many drinks have you had Dave from USA?
Aug. 18, 2011, 9:18 pm
Alex says:
Kingdom Ministry Oct. 1975
"We must keep wide awake spiritually, appreciating that Jehovah's day is now immediately ahead.
http://2mb.su/7652/
Aug. 19, 2011, 10:05 pm
Dave from USA says:
Alex, you speak like an apostate. if you turn away from what you know is right, and speak against that which you know you should not, then you yourself know that the result will be worse for you than those that do not know.
Aug. 19, 2011, 10:29 pm
Alex says:
First Dave you don't have any idea who I am or my background. I could say you sound like a __________. Even your own Awake magazine did an article about labeling people but they do it all the time themselves. How pathetic is the Watchtower. Truth is your just so used to judging every person. As usual you label people with Watchtower words. Do you even know what apostate means? It means anyone who has left any religion or political party. Does that make anyone bad? Only to you because of all your Watchtower brain washing and conditioning.
You next statement about "you yourself know that the result will be worse for you than those that do not know" is just more Watchtower fear tactics that keeps JW's in-line. I am about as afraid of your Watchtower leadership (who do not represent God on earth) as their similar 1975 statement. Keep trying to control people with fear and ignorance Dave but the more one digs deeper into the workings of this religion the more one sees how weak and non scripture supported the teachings are. That is why the Watchtower doesn't like the Internet. Information that is not siphoned by them.
Aug. 20, 2011, 10 am
Alex says:
"If you do not have first hand experience with a people or group or the politics that are going on you SHOULD shut your dim whitted mouth" Dave from USA

So everyone is supposed to only depend on the Watchtower and its JW religion for 'first hand' info....yet millions of JW's are fed bias crap through the Watchtower, Awake and every other WT publication about every other religion.
What hypocrites.
Aug. 20, 2011, 11:32 am
Tom from Brooklyn says:
This writer of this paper is most likely a homosexual. There are alot of them in Brooklyn Heights. They are against the Watchtower and JW's because the bible rightly condems their deviant behavior and JW's let this be known. Thus when one writes an article like this it is slanted against the JW's.
Aug. 20, 2011, 3:05 pm
Alex says:
Nice smear campaign Tom from Brooklyn.
Why would anyone expect any less?
Aug. 20, 2011, 6:55 pm
Reuben from Earth says:
JWs are not told to be irresponsible reguarding their old age, but not to be anxious and trust in God.
Have those who trusted in the banksters, robbed pension funds, other investments scheams faired better overall?
Aug. 21, 2011, 10:07 pm
Micah from Downtown says:
This is not about religion or the Witnesses. This story is about the incredibly bad deal to pay for a public park with private condos located inside this so called public park. Land that should go to the public for recreation not to condo owners. Squadron and Millman are cowards. Watch their campaign donations carefully, Brooklyn Paper.
Aug. 22, 2011, 8:34 am
Arlen from NC says:
Those who left all or part of their estates to the W.T. Evidently believed the W.T. Would make better use of it, what does this say for the disinherated? Were the seniors incompetent ? If so where were their families when they were being attended to by the JWs? What individuals get rich at WT? Any abusive JWs are disfellowshipped or otherwise disciplined when found out, not moved on to other areas to continue abuse as other religions do.
Aug. 22, 2011, 9:19 am
John from Bensonhurst says:
Funny how things always work out perfectly for this organization. It's almost divine.
Aug. 22, 2011, 2:06 pm
Joe from USA says:
Fact: NBC, CBS, ABC, BBC have all done documentaries about Watchtower hiding and sheltering pedophiles: silentlambs.org Fact: Watchtower's "Awake!" magazine has featured photos of and bragged about JW kids who bled to death instead of get needed emergency whole blood transfusions: www.ajwrb.org Fact: Watchtower. Fact: Watchtower shuns exJWs to shun an extreme degree some have committed suicide: jehovahs-witness.net (use search box there) Fact: they need prison time rather than a $1 billion.
Aug. 23, 2011, 9:20 am
Martin from Brooklyn Heights says:
The JWs have been great neighbors over the last Hundred Years !! They in part have made the area beautiful. Now they are leaving which will please those who have nothing good to say about them, and open the properties to taxation. Seems good from all angles, except who knows who the new neighbors will be!! At least with the JWs were decent, clean, law abiding, and respectful people.

Martin
Aug. 23, 2011, 10:39 am
Alex says:
"At least with the JWs were decent, clean, law abiding, and respectful people."~Martin from Brooklyn Heights

Two questions:

Are only JWs, decent, clean, law abiding and respectful people?

Are JWs looking forward to the violent destruction of men, women and children who are not part of their belief system?

Don't let their exterior mask their belief system.
Aug. 23, 2011, 9:59 pm
Solomon says:
Congratulations to Jehovah's Witnesses for making wise investments.

Shame on those who spout jealousy, envy, and personal propaganda.

Jesus commended those who used money wisely. See the parable of the "talents." New Testament, Matthew 25:14-30
Aug. 25, 2011, 5:15 pm
Doug from ontario canada says:
what is the combined worth of the catholic owned property in NY City or United Church or or or ...

What property in Brooklin is not worth big bucks on the RealEstate Market?

If all chusch owned property was taxed equally which ones would survive?
Aug. 25, 2011, 7:52 pm
marie says:
NONE of Jehovah's Witnesses are living high. These monies go into their volunteer educational work as well as building kingdom/assembly halls. Much of the money also goes into disaster relief and over the past decade there has been quite the need. As time goes on there will no doubt be a greater need as natural disaster seem to be increasing quite rapidly.
Aug. 25, 2011, 7:55 pm
Dave from USA says:
Alex, THANK YOU FOR PROVING MY POINT, I DID NOT HAVE TO SAY A THING, YOU DID THIS ALL BY YOUR SELF.
Aug. 26, 2011, 5:40 pm
Dave from USA says:
Alex, you were one of Jehovah's people and turned on that what you know. this is what everyone can see by your comments. if you choose to be an apostate go away and die as one, do not try to lead others to follow you.
Aug. 26, 2011, 5:50 pm
Alex says:
Dave from USA
The point you have proven is that you are a brainwashed follower of men. Keep pushing Pastor Russels teachings and maybe if you get a chance you can visit his pyramid grave stone and pay respect for all his weird teachings and calculations that have not come true.

You make an idiot of yourself with your fear tactics and threats and you serve a great example of how screwed up people who are forced to five meetings a week and are controlled by a group of leaders who vote on policy.
How political can one get?

Thanks for letting me know I was a brother. I didn't know that but I guess you with your satanic abilities can tell these things.
Aug. 27, 2011, 9:21 pm
Alex says:
Dave from USA
What is your favourite Armageddon dream of my being killed by your religion Dave? Falling down into the cracks of the earth during an earthquake? Having a tall building of bricks crushing my head? How many children do you picture being destroyed on that great day of your Watchtower religions play book? Do you smile when you think of your so called worldly neighbours being drowned? Not too much different from the eternal fire preachers across town. After all what loving God would do either?
Truly you are a sick person.
Aug. 27, 2011, 9:45 pm
Steve from GCA says:
Bitter apostate trolls, haters are going to hate.
Build an emotional bridge and get over it, move on with your lives. This bitterness is bad for your health.
As for the WTBS making money on the sale of the buildings, so what, they are taking that money and reinvesting it into other building projects and relief work around the globe. They have a major project ready to go in upstate New York where they are relocating their world headquarters to.
Aug. 28, 2011, 11:05 am
Alex says:
Angry brainwashed religiously trained haters. They get trapped into a religious group they can't even imagine getting out of. Threaten and label others(as they are brainwashed into doing by the Watchtower). They love that their religion says those outside of their exclusive group is going to die and be destroyed. Men, women children and babies. For over a hundred and thirty years the lie has continued. They can't accept that their lives have been a lie, purposeless and a travesty. They would rather protect an pedophile in their ranks than to show true love to those who are outside their exclusive wall of hatred.
Aug. 28, 2011, 1:02 pm
Solomon says:
Amazing how those accusing Witnesses of hating and labeling others, are so free with their own hate, and are bestowing labels.

No need to be envious of God's blessings on Jehovah's Witnesses.

Those who don't want to be Witnesses are free to be whatever they want.

Neither Jehovah nor Jehovah's Witnesses want those who prefer to be somewhere else.
Aug. 28, 2011, 2:49 pm
Alex says:
"Those who don't want to be Witnesses are free to be whatever they want."

The above is a COMPLETE LIE. (Why would I expect anything less) Your high control religion breaks up families with their extreme shunning practise.
It's about the same as saying to a slave you are free to go but you will never see your family again.
Freedom is not a word that belongs anywhere near the Watchtower high control sect.
Aug. 28, 2011, 4:30 pm
Alex says:
Jehovah's Witness and Shunning
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWdjLUcBzTs
Aug. 28, 2011, 4:50 pm
MJ from CANADA says:
For those that have gone off the real subject " realestate" and started a war on JW's, this was a study done a few years ago by a nonJW, I took the liberty to extract some of the findings.

Rodney Stark is Professor of Sociology and Comparative Religion at the University of
Washington.
Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1997
It has been
widely assumed that the Witnesses are a “proletarian” movement (cf. Cohn,
1955). Of course, this is asserted about most religious movements and frequently,
this has been found not to be true (Stark & Bainbridge, 1985; Stark,
1996a). Here, too, it seems not to be true. Thus, James Beckford’s (1975) data
showed that British Witnesses rarely came from the working class. While the
upper classes were also rarely represented, the British Witnesses were essentially
a middle-class movement.
the
average Witness with only a high school education is probably better educated
than others with similar amounts of schooling, because Witness children are
very shaped-up, and are expected to study and get good grades. This is
supported by performances on the 10-word vocabulary test included in the
General Social Surveys. Active Witnesses score as well on this test as do
members of the general population who have attended college and almost as
well as those who have graduated.
Indeed, Witnesses are
precisely as likely as the general population to own their own home (63% in the
GSS data). Despite having few college graduates among them and despite giving
their primary attention to religious work, the Witnesses seem remarkably
well-off economically.
Aug. 28, 2011, 10 pm
l says:
well they certainly come out of the wood work when ever Jehovah is mentioned! deals are for the political minded- these properties are well maintained, often obtained when no one else wanted them and fixed up, so now they are attractive to developers- of coarse a profit is made- it'll be spent to further the preaching of the good news somewhere else, and who ever obtains them will appreciate how well they were maintained.
Sept. 1, 2011, 12:03 am
Doctor Gonzo from The Edge says:
I got to hand it to the Watchtower Boys. They're great business men! They buy an old building and then get their flock of feeble minds to rebuild them for free. They even get their flock to buy property. Then, get the flock to build Kingdom Halls on the property. All for free. There was a family of feebles in the neighborhood. They sent two of their kids to the factory. To get closer to Jehovee and his real estate company. There, they worked for peanuts, cleaning toilets and printing books, that were sold by all the feebles in the world. What devotion!
Sept. 1, 2011, 7:21 pm
Alex says:
Even the name Jehovah has been proved not accurate. It was the invention of a Roman Catholic monk.

"It has been maintained by some recent scholars that the word Jehovah dates only from the year 1520 (cf. Hastings, "Dictionary of the Bible", II, 1899, p. 199: Gesenius-Buhl, "Handwörterbuch", 13th ed., 1899, p. 311). Drusius (loc. cit., 344) represents Peter Galatinus as the inventor of the word Jehovah"~The Catholic Encyclopedia
Sept. 2, 2011, 7:08 pm
Anne from Another state says:
God's arrangement is that we use "unrighteous riches." That's the Bible guidance.
(Luke 16:9)
Now, I hear that a house is bought and because of inflation placed on that property by humans NOT the owners of the house, the owners are blamed for being greedy and money lovers.
Read further at Luke 16:14 which says the "money lovers" were the Pharasees who hated the righteous ones.
Can we blame the JW Society for owning or selling a house and gaining a profit over which they had no control?
Who is really are the ones guilty of greed?
Sept. 3, 2011, 4:52 am
Anne from Another state says:
The last sentence should read:
"Who really are the ones guilty of greed?"
Sept. 3, 2011, 4:55 am
Anne from Another state says:
Who really are guilty of greed?
Sept. 3, 2011, 4:55 am
continue from Another state says:
Who really are the ones guilty of greed?
Sept. 3, 2011, 4:56 am
Anne from Ky says:
Who are really the ones guilty of greed?
Sept. 3, 2011, 4:57 am
MJ from Canada says:
Doctor Gonzo from The Edge did say
There was a family of feebles in the neighborhood.

Yes, "lets get rid of them like Hitler did", I am wondering who is the mentaly handicaped. It is so easy to make statements, now that your venom is gone, let us know how much do the charge for a bible or a magazin, that the distiribute to 45 000 000 "febble" readers every month? I am looking forward to see the facts.
Sept. 3, 2011, 1:06 pm
MJ from Canada says:
Alex says:

Even the name Jehovah has been proved not accurate.

Hello, I am here to learn, why do you not educate me, how is the real name written or spelled?
Sept. 3, 2011, 1:13 pm
Mary Anne from Int says:
Is this about the profit on the buildings bought many years ago and now being sold or just an outlet for the ignorant to rant anti religious slander?? Keep to the point!
They are not the first or the last to buy cheap and sell later for profit--get over it people.
Sept. 4, 2011, 2:14 am
Alex says:
We are over it. Now we are on to more important issues such as how this high control group destroys families and promotes hatred and intolerance of all other religions.
Sept. 4, 2011, 6:16 pm
Alex says:
Even the name Jehovah has been proved not accurate.

Hello, I am here to learn, why do you not educate me, how is the real name written or spelled~MJ

The word “Jehovah” does not really exist in the texts but is in fact an Anglicized word that is made from the Jewish tetragrammaton YHWH. Scholars say the true pronunciation is Yahweh. Saying Jehovah is the english version is untrue.
Sept. 5, 2011, 3:26 am
MJ from Canada says:


Alex says:

Even the name Jehovah has been proved not accurate.

Hello, I am here to learn, why do you not educate me, how is the real name written or spelled~MJ

The word “Jehovah” does not really exist in the texts but is in fact an Anglicized word that is made from the Jewish tetragrammaton YHWH. Scholars say the true pronunciation is Yahweh. Saying Jehovah is the english version is untrue.

I did some research of my own, and I think that the real answer would be as stated below " the real pronunciation is being lost" therefore either way is acceptable, and your take on it is biased, it would be better to stay with facts .

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YAHWEH


GENDER: Masculine

USAGE: Theology

PRONOUNCED: YAH-way [key]

Meaning & History

A name of the Hebrew God, represented in Hebrew by the tetragrammaton ("four letters") יהוה (Yod Heh Vav Heh), transliterated into Roman script Y H W H. Because it was considered blasphemous to utter the name of God it was only written and never spoken. This resulted in the original pronunciation being lost. The name may have originally been derived from the old Semitic root הוה (hawah) meaning "to be" or "to become".

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VARIANTS: Jehovah, Yahveh, Yehowah



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Sept. 6, 2011, 1:02 pm
Drew from Brooklyn Heights says:
This news article is called a “News Analysis: Inside the Brooklyn Bridge Park deal. The argument made in the conclusion is the following “But former Squadron allies like Sloane say that the deal is fishy and that the senator sold out the park.” A “Stasis,” a simple noun derived from the Greek verb stami (to stand), while the word certainly does mean “position” or “standpoint,” it is also used to convey the tension of two equivalent forces held in place by their direct opposition to each other. Make fists of both your hands, and then press them hard against each other in front of your body: the balanced forces meeting at your knuckles make a “stasis.” And that, metaphorically speaking, is what the system of “stases” is designed to achieve: points of direct opposition between opposing arguments.

As we see from this story “News Analysis: Inside the Brooklyn Bridge Park deal Analysis,” this is harder to achieve than you might think. Arguments, and people, often talk past each other. Words, even good reasons, can pile up to no effect. Neither side feels that its position has been engaged by the other. To fully and effectively disagree, both sides have to understand what the other is trying to claim.

The problem often is that the two sides did not always concentrate on the same questions at the same time. In fact, the arguments with which the opposing sides opened the larger argument, the court case, often focus on entirely different questions. Trying the case, working through the argument, required an effort to re-focus the contending arguments so that their oppositions or agreements on these fundamental questions could be discovered and then resolved or built upon.

The sorting out begins at the level of conjecture: How are the two sides constructing the essential facts? Often, the two sides are using very connotative language to construe these facts in an effort to prejudge them, usually at the level of definition or value. To get around this impasse, both sides must present their conjectures as denotatively as possible so that they can determine the facts together. Then they can decide to what extent they both agree on what is happening.

Is this news story we see the stasis is value: “Is the Brooklyn Bridge Park deal a good thing?” Or, to state the question more thoroughly: “Is the Brooklyn Bridge Park deal a good thing because Jehovah’s Witnesses sell their property and the properties go back on the tax rolls to for Brooklyn Bridge Park a good thing? Or is this something we need to worry about?” Settling this question may involve questions of definition, but these will usually be asked in an effort to determine whether other social values honor, courage, compassion, utility can justify the act or choice at issue in this news story. Alternatively, the argument may return to the question of cause and consequence with the two sides debating whether the act or choice at issue will have positive consequences, or consequences we will regret.

Based on the answers arrived at for these questions, the argument may then turn to the final question of procedure or proposal: “What, if anything, should be done? Let the wealthy Brooklyn Heights Citizens pay an annual fee?” But even if they agree that something should be done, the two sides may disagree about what that is. More specifically, they may disagree about whether what each is proposing is feasible or plausible. Or neither side may find the other sufficiently credible in terms of expertise, or experience, or determination, or energy, or trustworthiness to carry out what is being proposed. They may agree on the job that needs to be done, but not on whether he or she is the person to do it.

Arguments may be in stasis on any one of these questions. And a complex argument may have stasis points at more than one question. The benefit of these questions is that they prompt our analysis to move carefully through broadly opposing arguments so that we can track down, and only then perhaps resolve, the real points of opposition between them.
There is a comical old saying ago as Segal’s Law:
A man with a watch knows what time it is, a man with two watches is never sure.

Arguments often have the same effect. You know exactly what to think after hearing the first; you’re not so sure after the second, especially when the facts themselves have been thrown up for grabs. The stases questions are a technique for synchronizing watches. They enable us to get into the mechanism of each argument to see what makes it tick and then to see why and where it is ticking differently from the other. You may not always be able to get both to tick in unison, but by carefully lining up and comparing the two, by seeing which argument has the more fully developed and reliable linkages between questions of conjecture and definition and cause and value and whatever solution being proposed, you may be able to decide which watch you want to strap on from this biased news article.
Sept. 7, 2011, 4:58 pm
Caring2 from Arizona says:
WTS is soon getting $1 Billion. AND, soon now debit/credit card terminals are being installed in all their Assembly Halls, but that's ok, they don't pass a plate.
Sept. 10, 2011, 3:29 pm
Guy Richards from Athol, Ma says:
Do JWs ever question the contrast between Jesus and the apostles with that of the Watchtower organization today? Early Christians met in homes. Their contributions were donated to needy brothers and sisters. Their missionaries, like Paul, were not directed by a "governing body." They did not use a publishing empire to spead the "good news of Christ." The
"truth" they preached was Christ...not
an organization of men.

However JWs may try to explain away the wealth and authority of the Watchtower, it fails to measure up to the standards of the early church and its message.
Sept. 29, 2011, 11:21 am
Rob from Virginia, U.S.A. says:
"Do JWs ever question the contrast between Jesus and the apostles with that of the Watchtower organization today?"

Jehovah's Witnesses constantly examine themselves in relation to the first century Christians. The fact is: there is very little "contrast," so to speak, and what "contrast" there is is that which is necessitated by living in the modern versus the ancient world. Religiously, theologically, there is no contrast. Jehovah's Witnesses are evangelizers, fully dedicated to the doing of God's will, just as in the first century.

"Early Christians met in homes."

Jehovah's Witnesses still meet in homes in many instances. They also happen to use public meeting places called Kingdom Halls. There are more than 7.5 million active Witnesses worldwide, organized into over 107,000 congregations as of 2010. Many private homes simply do not have the capacity for that many people to congregate, not to mention enough space to park vehicles in those countries where people depend on automobiles for transportation.

"Their contributions were donated to needy brothers and sisters."

And they still are.

"Their missionaries, like Paul, were not directed by a 'governing body.'"

This simply is not so. See Acts 15, for example, where Paul and Barnabas went to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, the governing body at that time, to settle the circumcision question.

"They did not use a publishing empire to spead the 'good news of Christ.'"

Really, did anyone use a "publishing empire" in the first century? It is interesting to note, however, that Christians in the 2nd century were among the first to widely adopt the use of the codex, or leaf-book, instead of the more cumbersome scroll. This is evidenced by the papyrus fragments discovered in the Egyptian desert and acquired by Chester Beatty. According to a book called _The Birth of the Codex_, "the Christian adoption of the codex seems to have been instant and universal." It seems those pesky Christians were always eager to change to make use of more efficient ways of spreading the truth.

"The 'truth' they preached was Christ...not an organization of men."

The truth Jehovah's Witnesses preach is still about Christ. There was an organization of men in the first century too, apart from whom one could not be a member of the Christian congregation.
Oct. 1, 2011, 10:58 pm
Faith from T or C, NM says:
Rob from Virginia, thank you for your very well thought out comments. The apostle Peter denied Jesus 3 times, shrank back from close friendship with the non circumcised newer believers, and made other HUMAN mistakes. He still was used to promote the teachings of the most outstandingly profound man that ever walked the earth, Jesus Christ.

We all make mistakes because we are short sighted...out creator is able to look at all this and see the reality. He has the sight based on more time than we can comprehend.

Spirituality is a beautiful thing, brother. How many blood baths has mankind's political realm caused by promoting wars that caused humble naiive people to kill each other??
Thanks to all for their kind comments, especially those who just hate slander and bitter hatred.
Oct. 22, 2011, 10:40 pm

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