Witnesses and Jimmy Swaggart
From The Watchtower - May 15, 1960, page 295:
"The Scriptures justify the 'war strategy' of hiding true
facts from the enemy."
Few Jehovah's Witnesses know the truth about The Watchtower Society and Jimmy Swaggart's day in court.
Why did the Watchtower Society change its literature
distribution program in 1990, eliminating set prices for
literature items? JWs believe the Governing Body instituted a
"simplified" arrangement. Few know the change really
took place because Jimmy Swaggart lost his case in court. In a
February 21, 1990 letter to congregations, the Society explained
the new policy this way:
By adopting a method of literature
distribution based completely on donation, Jehovah's people
are able to greatly simplify our Bible education work and
separate ourselves from those who commercialize religion.
However, this is what really happened:
Early 1980 State of California informs Jimmy Swaggart
Ministries that tax is due for religious books and tapes
sold in the state since 1974. Swaggart eventually pays
the tax--$183,000.00--but sues for a refund. The case
begins moving toward the U.S. Supreme Court.
February, 1989 U.S. Supreme Court rules it is illegal for
Texas (and 14 other states) to exempt religious books
from sales tax. Some states had been taxing religious
books all along.
Summer, 1989 WT Society gives away "free" books
released at U.S. conventions. Witnesses are instructed to
place donations in contribution boxes to cover the cost.
June 22, 1989 Watchtower Society, files amicus curiae
("friend of the court") brief with U.S. Supreme
Court in Jimmy Swaggart case. Others filing similar
briefs include National Council of Churches and Society
for Krishna Consciousness.
January 17, 1990 U.S. Supreme Court rules against Jimmy
Swaggart Ministries, declaring that the sales tax must be
February 9, 1990 WT Society writes letter to
congregations announcing that literature will no longer
be sold at Kingdom Hall and no price will be set in
February 25, 1990 February 9th letter from Society is
read at Sunday meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses across the
March 1, 1990 New policy of distributing literature
without naming a price goes into effect.
The March 15, 1990, WATCHTOWER magazine and March 22nd
AWAKE!--printed earlier--still say "25 cents (U.S.)
a copy" and "$5.00 (U.S.) per year." The
April 1, 1990, Watchtower no longer carries a price.
March 11, 1990 Announcement is made at Kingdom Halls in
the U.S. that food will be available at no cost, on a
freewill donation basis, at JW conventions.
Since many JWs refuse to believe the Society
actually filed a legal brief in Jimmy Swaggart's case, we
reproduce pages here as evidence.