27,006 Partakers in 1935 according to 1936 yearbook

by M.J. 13 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • M.J.

    Here's a scan of the 1936 yearbook, page 53:

    Note under "Memorial", 32,795 attended and 27,006 partook.

    These numbers were faithfully repeated in 1988 by the WT:

    *** 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.

    However, in a 1996 Questions From Readers answer to fluctuations in partaker numbers, the WT reported the following:

    *** 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.

    This appears to be a fabrication to pad the numbers and make the fact that there currently remains around 8,500 partakers more believable.

    But wait! Does even 27,006 represent the number actual anointed in 1935? Even the WT admits that a number of the partakers in 1935 were actually members of the Great Crowd:

    ***yb75 p. 157 Part 2—United States of America ***After the 1935 convention, some who previously partook of the emblematic bread and wine at observances of the Lord’s Evening Meal ceased partaking. Why? Not due to unfaithfulness, but because they now realized that their hopes were earthly, not heavenly.

    This explains the big dip in partaker numbers down below 20,000 by the end of the 1930s.

    So there you have it, the 8,500 "anointed" today are supposedly the survivors/replacements from a pool of less than 27,000 in 1935.

  • M.J.

    The implication here is that if there are 8,500 partakers left on earth today, this is over 31% of the amount that were old enough to partake in 1935.

    What percentage of the people born before, say 1920 are alive today? Probably closer to 1% than 31%!

  • slimboyfat

    The contradiction in the figures is more interesting that incredible claims about the longevity of the 8000 or so "remnant" that we already knew about anyway.

    It is also interesting that there were more partakers in the mid-1920s than there were in the mid-1930s. At least I remember reading that somewhere - maybe someone could confirm that.

  • M.J.

    I agree with you there, SBF on the blatant misrepresentation.

    I do happen to have the 1920s yearbooks so I will check up on those figures as well. Stay tuned...

  • sir82

    I am of course no expert, but...

    It looks like the page from the 1936 yearbook is showing the count of Memorial partakers & attenders for the US branch only.

    Of the 27,006 partakers, 26,826 are under the column for the "United States". There is another column for "outlying countries", but there are only 300 listed as "attending" in that column.

    Again, I don't have info handy, but weren't there many thousands of JWs in Canada, England, Germany, etc. in the 1930's?

    It also sounds like the 1996 Questions from Readers is making reference to the total world report (63,146).

    I don't know what they mean in the '36 yearbook by "outlynig countries"...perhpas they mean Hawaii & Alaska, which were US territories but not states at the time? Or might it mean persons "assigned" to the US branch, but serving as missionaries elsewhere?

    Of course, the issue with the more-or-less constant count of 8500 partakers over the past 15 years remains. Whether you start from 27,000 or 52,000 in 1935, it is actuarially impossible that 8500 of them survived 70+ years...either these guys are getting their body parts bionically replaced so that they never die, or the majority of the partakers between the 30's & the 90's ended up being unfaithful & had to be "replaced". Neither possibility is something the Watchtower likes to comment on.

  • slimboyfat
    I do happen to have the 1920s yearbooks

    Do you realise you are sitting on a fortune? Alas, I only have the yearbooks back to 1939.

  • slimboyfat

    Well spotted.

  • Leolaia

    I can't find any figures in the 1927 Yearbook. Did find this interesting quote tho:

    "Let all the consecrated then submit themselves to examination in the light of Jehovah’s Word and see if they can truthfully say: 'I have consecrated my life to the Lord. With me it is God first and all the time. Unreservedly I will support his cause. I delight to identify myself with his organization, of which Christ Jesus is the Head.' All who can may partake of the Memorial" (1927 IBSA Yearbook, p. 169).

    I'm surprised to see language concerning "identifying oneself with God's organization" so early.

  • M.J.


    Yes, I would have doubted those numbers more if the WTS themselves hadn't affirmed the same numbers in 1988 as being worldwide memorial attendance numbers, as cited in my original post. But perhaps you make a good point. The numbers DO look quite low for "outlying countries". I do, however doubt that memorial attendance from other countries would come close to matching the number in the US, as the number 63,146 would suggest...

  • moomanchu

    rookie question

    what are companies and sharpshooters

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