How many partook in 1935?--BIG discrepancy in the WTS numbers

by M.J. 42 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • M.J.

    In a 1996 Questions from Readers, the Watchtower reported the following regarding the number of partakers in 1935:

    *** w96 8/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***

    The facts over the decades reflect both the completion of the calling of the anointed and Jehovah’s blessing on the growing "great crowd," who hope to survive "the great tribulation." (Revelation 7:9, 14) For example, at the Memorial celebration in 1935, attended by 63,146, those partaking of the emblems in evidence of their profession to be anointed numbered 52,465. Thirty years later, or in 1965, the attendance was 1,933,089, while the partakers decreased to 11,550. Moving 30 years closer, in 1995 the attendance jumped to 13,147,201, but only 8,645 partook of the bread and the wine. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) Clearly, as the decades passed, the number of those professing to be of the remnant greatly decreased—some 52,400 in 1935; 11,500 in 1965; 8,600 in 1995. However, those with earthly hopes have been blessed, and their number has increased abundantly.

    However, back in 1988, the following was reported:


    w88 12/15 p. 12 par. 10 Angelic Messages for Our Day ***


    In 1935 attendance worldwide at the Memorial observance of Jesus’ death was 32,795. Of these, 27,006 partook of the emblems as being the remaining ones on earth of the 144,000, whose hope is heavenly.

    I happen to own PDF copies of the JW yearbooks from 1943-1959. In the year 1942, most countries with significant JW populations reported their memorial attendance. I added those up...The 1942 total added up to: 16,411...except that this number excluded Great Britain, which didn't report. However, the number of publishers there was about 13,000 according to their reported figures. Figuring the Publisher to Partaker ratio was about the same as in the US (5 to 1), that puts the number of partakers in GB at an estimated 2,600

    So my rough figures for total partakers in 1942, according to the 1942 yearbook are: 19011. This is only 7 years after 1935. Does anyone have access to the 1935 yearbook to see what figures it gives for memorial partakers?

    1942 numbers aside, why is there a discrepancy between the Watchtowers of 1988 and 1996?

  • M.J.

    In case anyone doesn't get the point, a lower number of memorial partakers in 1935 makes the current "remnant" numbers appear to be even more outrageous. So I can at least see the motivation for the WTS to inflate the numbers.

  • james_woods

    Thanks for those numbers - Pretty hard to get a straight story out of that bunch, isn't it?

    My take - they will have to jigger around on this teaching in much the same way as the generation change.

    But, it is really going to take some big creative effort to get out of this corner which they have painted themselves into.

    Here may come an opportunity to just let everyone partake and not count up the annointed anymore. The joy of such a move for the R&F would probably overcome the obvious break with the previously sacrosanct memorial rules. Then, they could just forget about the numbers. Or, more likely, just quit reporting the numbers without any changes in the rules. (although that would really raise some eyebrows, IMHO)

    Please don't anybody tell them my idea - it might actually get them off this hook.


  • VM44

    The Watchtower doesn't care about facts and numbers. They only care about writing things that sound OK right now. Forget consistency with anything written years ago. The only thing that matters is to write good sounding propaganda that people will accept without question.


  • heathen
    Here may come an opportunity to just let everyone partake and not count up the annointed anymore.

    I think they would let anybody eat and drink anyway of course it would mean having to change some dogma around to include the GC as inheriting the kingdom of the heavens and not just the paradise earth. Their dogma excludes the GC from the kingdom of the heavens and as far as I'm concerned that is blaspheme anyway . They are saying that the closest the GC will get to the kingdom of the heavens is the book publishing corporation and jesus will rule invisibly during the millenial reign all of which is not true according to the scriptures .

  • greendawn

    There is obviously something dodgy going on since the two figures they give and the one you worked out vary wildly, but it's easy to see why they would want to inflate the "anointed" figures, in order to hopefully make them linger on until the supposed end. But already seven out of the eleven current GB members are post 1935.

    But the info you uncovered is very useful, well done.

  • M.J.

    If the number was closer to 20,000 memorial partakers in 1935...then that's not much more than twice the current number. Or if it was around 27,000 then today's number is not much less than 1/3 what it was back then. Think of what percentage of anointed had to fall away to make room for today's anointed!

  • RunningMan

    I have a chart, which I found somewhere on the internet a few years ago, listing all of the stats over many years. It is pretty complete back to 1938, and patchy back as far as 1881. The number of partakers runs in the 20 thousands from 1952 back to 1939, and is much higher in the 30s, with 1935 lsited as 52,465.

    There was also a huge drop off in the late 1920s, droping from 90,434 in 1925, down to 17,380 in 1928, then rising again by 1935. The big drop of around 1925 was caused by the failure of the saints to come back to life, the "millions now living" who suddenly realized they were going to die, and the reworking of all the old chronology.

    I doubt that even the society knows what the real numbers were back then, with any degree of accuracy.

  • M.J.

    OK I have a theory on what happened here. The memorial was in the spring...But the light about the "great crowd" didn't flash up until the Summer convention!

    This means that everyone who attended the 1935 memorial partook of the emblems. Once the "great crowd" was identified in the summer, it removed thousands of people from the "partaker" category.

    Check out Nathan Natas' chart:


    I think the sorting out of who was of the anointed vs. who was in the new "great crowd" accounts for the wild fluctuations there right after 1935.

    So the fact of the matter would be, then, that the 1935 number is irrelevant. Many of those who partook in 1935 subsequently figured out they were in the great crowd.

    How does this theory sound???

  • Phil

    What is "Partook"?. What are memorials?

    I am not a JW but am learning.

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