2006 SERVICE REPORT - Feb 1, 2007 WT

by Mary 100 Replies latest jw friends

  • steve2

    What do you attribute this to in New Zealand? I mean besides relative affluence, is there anything about NZ culture or location, etc, that you think has to do with the decline in numbers?

    Good questions, Daniel P. I think New Zealand is a typical example of a western industrialized nation with a reasonably high standard of living (certainly relative to third world countries). If you look at the Scandanavian countries, a similar trend among the JWs is noticeable - in fact, in some instances such as Denmark, the growth patterns are even worse. The biggest influx of new JWs in NZ occurred in the build-up to 1975 (as happened in lots of westernized countries), and since then, as the saying goes, it's been downhill - although the real stagnation has only occurred in the past ten years or so.

    What I notice is huge numbers of young ones who are raised in the JW religion who just go through the motions of membership - even after they're bapized: They just don't door knock - or at most squeeze in a few hours in between employment. Other young ones are "mere" meeting attenders - to keep parents happy, it seems.Locally, it is not at all unusual to know of elders whose children have, one by one, left the religion...and stayed out. To be fair, other organized religions also experience a dearth in interest among the young. Admittedly, some wander back to the religion - but the days of young JWs preaching the "good news" with gusto are distant memories...

    New Zealand is also an increasingly pluralistic society - especially regarding different religious groups other than Christian. During our last census, Hindus and Moslems showed the greatest percentage increases, and, not surprisingly, the biggest increase was for the category, "No religion".

    JWs have turned out to be no different from other millennialist sects such as the 7th day Adventists - their heyday is well past, but, due to family (and business!) ties, they'll splutter on for a few years yet. Who can imagine the JWs door knocking after 2014? A few hardy brave souls I guess, but judging by present trends, not much more than that!

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