JW membership turnover - a real-life study

by besty 51 Replies latest jw friends

  • besty

    Much has been commented here on how JW's rely on an ever-changing membership for keeping their 'the sky is falling, the world is ending' doctrine fresh.

    Recently it was posted that fully 2/3 of born-in JW's leave at some point, and I thought you might like to see how this works in practice.

    So lets take Sam and I and our extended families - we were both born and brought up JW's.

    Start with me. Mum and Dad were converted in the 1950's. Two children - my brother Andrew and I brought up as JW's. Dad has now passed on and Mum is early 70's. Andrew and his wife Emma remain JW's but have no children and being late 30's early 40's are a self-declared childless couple. So the JW line dies with them. Sam and I have 2 children and - yes -you've guessed - we are not JW and neither will our children be JW. Current active JW's 3 - average age 53 - future generations - 0.

    Lets take my wife Sam. Brought up a JW with one sister Gemma. Sam's Dad Gerry was a convert and her Mum Kathy and her sister Rosalind were brought up in a divided household. So Sam was a 3rd generation JW. Rosalind and her husband (Elder PO) split up and the resultant 2 children (Sam's 1st cousins) both left the JW's and Rosalind and ex-husband are effectively gone. Sams sister Gemma also left the JW's shortly after starting a university education. Current active JW's 2 - average age 63 - future generations - 0.

    Finally my sister in law Emma. I have counted Emma above so wion't include her in the figures below. She was also brought up a JW with one sister Lorna. Both parents still nominal JW's with the Mum bedridden with ME and active elder father. Lorna mentally ill but nominally active. Current active JW's - impossible to say but realistically 1 and 2 irregular/incapables - average age 55 - future generations - 0.

    So let me summarise:

    1960's - approx. 11 active JW's

    1970's - approx. 11 active JW's + 8 children

    1980's - approx. 12 active JW's + 6 children

    1990's - approx 10 active JW's

    2000's - approx. 5 active JW's (and thats giving some of them the benefit of the doubt) with a big fat ZERO in the pipeline

    So you can see there was a golden age for my family in the '70's and 80's when 20 or so were bulking up the numbers - if it had been an attractive organisation that encouraged marriage and children there could have been 30 or 40 of us all at the meetings today.

    But that would be missing the point - the point is the WTS don't care who the individuals are - so long as the NUMBERS are there the faces don't matter.

    Thanks for reading.

    Its Friday night in LA, Saturday night in New Zealand and Saturday morning in London. Happy days.

  • sweet pea
    sweet pea

    This is what happens when I go out for the evening.

    Besty's ruminations over a JD and coke.

    Nice one honey.

    It gives me great satisfaction to know that at least out of 4 families of witnesses there will be no more witnesses in the future. There is hope after all.

  • llbh

    Hey i notice your Sam's avatar say's she is in the Uk and Paul's the US, so to here you guuys are no longer together - joke

    Hope you are having a good time


  • SirNose586

    Thanks for sharing, besty. I also find the "not bearing kids this side of Ahm-a-gettin" couples intriguing; for all their zeal, who'll continue their line? What's there to pass on? And 40 years from now, when they're all 70-80, how're they gonna feel?

  • Tired of the Hypocrisy
    Tired of the Hypocrisy

    Ok, it is now almost 2 AM in california and I have had about 3 hours of sleep in 56. But I can still follow your idea and I think it is pretty accurate.

  • Mickey mouse
    Mickey mouse

    Ooohh interesting. Thanks. No one has left in my family. Many are remaining childless though. So sad.

  • greendawn

    They do have a large turn over number, the problems come home to roost as members vote with their feet versus their foolish policies, stern authoritarianism in the democratic western world of the 21st century, never ending deception and manipulation, the inability to offer real solutions rather than constantly criticise, the excessive demands and lack of real support, the very harsh excommunication policy, the hopelessly muddled blood policy.

    All in all it's an org that demands a great deal and offers basically nothing of value in return.

  • The-Borg

    Hi Besty nice to hear from you, how are things going in sunny LA?

    Thanks for starting an intersting thread.

    Here is my own JW generation tree.

    Myself, I became a JW in the early nineties, no family are JW's and never will be. So I'll base this on my wife's

    Her parents became JW's in the late 60's brought up 6 children.

    Father active JW, passed away. Mother current active JW.
    Current active JW = 1, Average age 64,

    Eldest son left in his late teens, has children
    but none are JW's . Future generations = 0

    Out of her five sisters the eldest is a missionary, married mid 40's - unlikely to have kids.
    Current Active JW's = 2, Average age 44, Future generation = 0

    sister#2 - Married, both active JW's with 3 kids
    Current Active JW's = 2, Average age 41, Future generation = possibly 3

    sister#3 - active JW, unmarried and likley to remain unmarried and childless (I blame the organisation for this
    as she pioneered during the best days of her life and gave up everything for them!!)
    Current Active JW = 1 Average age 39, Future generation = 0

    sister#4 - My wife, married, one child due in 3 weeks!! Both active faders ;-). Our children will not be brought
    up as JW's.
    Current Active = 0 Average age 35, Future generation = 0

    sister#5 - disfellowshipped no interest in JW's, baby on the way, doubt it will be brought up as JW, although may
    attend the odd meeting with grandma.
    Current Active = 0 Average age 23, Future generation = 0

    The future looks bleak if they are going to rely on families for future numbers, whilst they actively discourage
    marriage (whether in or out of the org), and in having children. How short sighted!!

  • WTWizard

    Well, they lost my support. They also lost any support that any children I would have borne had they allowed me the opportunity to attract the opposite sex would have given them, too. As I see it, that puts them down at least 4 or 5 potential members.

    And I hope I have a share in making that 500 or 1,000 members down.

  • chickpea

    very interesting breakdown....

    makes it so realistic to understand the churn when applying that strategy to any given congregation......

    we came in with 2 kids.... left with 4 and NONE of them will ever cross a KH threshold again

  • besty

    Hi TheBorg - things are fine in LA thanks - just not enough sunshine LOL

    My main point with this turnover thing is that essentially it is unimportant to the WTS. So long as they can baptise 2-3% more than leave they will record another growth year.

    The actual composition of the flock is not relevant. Thats why its likely that 2/3rds of current JW's have been baptised in the last 10 years.

  • crazyblondeb

    My family lineage:

    stepdad, 64 yrs.: DF x 1, will die a jw.

    mom, 64 yrs: DF x 1, will die a jw.

    Me (sis 1)43 yrs: DF'd x 2, left many years ago.........One child-NOT a JW

    Sis 2 40 yrs:..Left many years ago....2 children.NOT JW

    Sis 3- 33 yrs:..Left many years ago...2 children....NOT JW

    Sis 4- 32 yrs...Left many years ago....2 children...NOT JW

    Bro 30yrs.....Left many years ago.....still waiting for kids....

    RESULT: NO MORE JW'S IN OUR FAMILY...........CYCLE IS BROKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • flipper

    Besty & Sweet Pea - How are you folks ? Good thread ! According to the recent news reports on people being raised up in the JW religion - 66% of those raised in it leave. So of my 3 adult children son23, daughter 21, and another daughter 20 I figure if I get 2 of them out of the cult I can stay with the average. My oldest son is out already, and he and I are gradually working on my oldest daughter, so we shall see what happens in time ! So good you will not be raising your kids under mind control- count your lucky stars ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • Dogpatch

    we hijacked them to Manhattan Beach!

    now they have to support Bush! :-))


  • brunnhilde

    It's an interesting that my cousin just commented this week that I was the last one of our generation to leave. Now my parents are in and hers, and that is it. None of our kids are in so when our folks are gone, that's it.


  • besty

    Best thing sice I came to Manhattan Beach was getting a cell phone with 666 in my number :-) LOL

  • besty

    Just to summarise:

    Out of 8 children in 'my' extended family generation born as JW's, 5 have seen the light and left. I make that near as dammit to the 2/3 figure quoted in the recent survey.

    The 3 that are JW are either unmarried or childless.

    In the words of crazyblondeb: RESULT: NO MORE JW'S IN OUR FAMILY...........CYCLE IS BROKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • potleg

    I was raised in the "truth", I have 3 daughters and 2 sons, when I left they did too.

    I can honestly say that we're all glad to be free.

  • lisavegas420

    My grandmother on my moms side had three children. Only one child remains a JW, my mom.

    My mom had 4 children, only one remains a JW, my sister.

    My one sister that remains a JW, had 4 children. One is no longer a JW...and by the MYSPACE's of her other three children, I'm guessing they will be gone within the next 10 yrs.

    The nonsense will stop at this generation.

    My kids know better than to join a cult.


  • Gayle

    My folks became JWs in the 50s, had 5 children, grew up, 4 of 5 pioneered & went also to Bethel. In time we married (4 of 5 married JWs and 1 married a non believer), altogether we have had 15 children. We all left JWdom. All 15 kids are all baggage-free of JWdom with some having only some memories of JW life when very young. We have still some extended family members JWs, 1 line into their 5th generation now.

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