Elsewhere: (i know it may not be your chart) but I wonder how the graph would look against a general population percentage slope. It seems like the increase to 1950 parallels the Baby Boom and of course we all know about the peak leading to 1975.
So the point is that chart may not tell the whole story as accurately as possible. i would like to see just a plot of totals (I am working on some graphs myself) because using % of annual growth also seems incorrect to use.
I mean there are only so many millions of people that are going to convert to being JWs and eventually there will be a point where there is 0% world growth versus % leaving over a long period of time (not just over a year or two).
Also using percentage doesn't quite tell the whole story 1% of a million is much less than 1% growth of 6 million member organization.
turning to the topic of the thread,
It is no secret that I believe that the body of Jehovah's Wtinesses are headed for a downfall within the next 30 years IF some major changes are not made.
I believe that if the changes which I believe will be made are made, that the Religion will thrive and continue to experience even more growth eventually reaching its natural plateau.
As far as the question of the thread, I believe the resulting culture of the religion will resemble something like the present Bible Student groups of today, but with a "Bethel" and possibly a publication, ala Zion's Watch Tower, that serves as unifying tool but without the hierarchical-authoritative-domineering qualities that Bethel or the Org still has. There will be no GB and no need for any publishing empire as the evangelization will continue without the use of such "aids" and via informal word of mouth and by serving as living examples of fine Christians.
There will still be an Adventist hope that is generalized in a patient wait for Christ's Second Coming but the focus will be in developing good Christian qualities in daily living and thus attracting others to emulate us. The days of prophecy and speculation and in rule-making and legalism will be over and persons will live by their individual bible-trained consciences. On the whole the relationship between those "Christian Witnesses" and other faiths and religions will be much more tolerant if not quite accepting.
This is not just a Utopian view of the Organization, I believe that it is one definite possibility.
But if these changes are not made, then in the downfall that will surely result after all of the FDS are dead, I believe a relatively quick exodus over the span of a decade or two at most will lead to a significant drop in membership.
But we must remember that there are still small groups of certain religions which the average reasonable person would scratch there head at so I can easily imagine that after such an exodus over an extended period of time that those calling themselves JWs could easily number anywhere between 1 million to 3 million or more by the year 2200.
So long as there is some form of Adventism within the JW theology, this will always be attractive to a certain number of persons as a faith-paradigm.
-Eduardo Leaton Jr., Esq.