Not really an answer to my question. With Firefox set to NEVER UPDATE, I expect it to never update! I'm not interested in beta versions or changes that mess up my computer. I want to update when I get ready to update. Do you have an answer to my question?
Let's watch the attitude there. Obviously that option got reset, either when you installed or removed an add-on or extension, or, when you finally did do a manual update. You don't get beta versions unless you manually download and install them. Version 36 is way out of date.
If you want to go behind the Firefox GUI to see the guts of the settings, type about:config into the URL bar and by-pass the dire warning of even going there. Search for Updates and check every bold entry hasn't changed since you last looked at it. Copy every one into a Notepad document so you can go back over them later.
My flash drive Linux Mint which I use for diagnostic purposes is running FF 24 and it works well but it really is best with a trustworthy programme like Firefox, it's best to have the latest version.