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 ***
10In 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?