When I was a JW we were discouraged from giving money to charities. In short, the main way that JWs are told to contribute to the community is by going from door to door with their literature. They are taught that by making people into good JWs that that is the best contribution they can make to their communities. This may explain why sklemetti said the following:
BTW, having orphanages or hospitals under the name of a religion is not charity. Real charity is eliminating the need for such things.
Of course, going around distributing Bible literature is not going to eliminate the need for people to see a doctor when they are sick, the need for people to learn a trade, or even the need to care for widows and orphans. People have physical needs as well as spiritual needs and to neglect either is wrong. Jesus realized this as well when he fed the 5,000.
While authentic religious education will assist people in leading a good life, in this world people still get sick, still have bad things happen to them, still have to work for a living, still get hungry, and still die. The Early Church was very well known for how they took care of the poor and those in need including those in need who were not Christians. As St. James says:
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27
So, contrary to what our JW friends say, Christianity has always been characterized by caring materially for those in need and in an organized way (not just an individual way). If you want an example just look at Acts 6:1-6 where the deacons of the Church organized the Churches’ resources to feed the poor widows. This was not just an individual thing as our JW friend says.
I can remember when I was JW though inactive at the time that a major tornado came through and pretty much wiped out a neighboring town. On the news it was announced that anyone needing housing or food due to tornado damage that night could come to the local Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and other Churches in the area. I was struck by the silence of the local Kingdom Hall which never made the offer at least not publically to anyone in the community who was in need.
Now, as far as the money that the JWs get for their literature things have changed over the years.
In the past, the JWs sold their literature for a specific price. When I was a pioneer (a full-time JW door to door evangelizer) back in the 1980’s we sold the magazines for 25 cents a piece and most of our books were $3.00 a piece. Then in the 1990’s when some of the states here in the USA threatened to make the Watchtower Society pay sales taxes on their literature sales, the Watchtower Society changed to their current donation arrangement which has really hurt them financially it appears.
My good friend Randy Watters who was at the Headquarters for many years has some really interesting articles on the Watchtower Society’s money practices.
Here is the link:
I hope this helps.