What percentage of JWs have been disfellowshipped?

by JWoods 39 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • JWoods

    I was just thinking about people I knew - and I come up with around 15% who were disfellowshipped. Some got re-instated, some left for good, I even know a few who were disfellowshipped more than once. It may be even higher than that - certainly it is pretty common in JWland.

    I know that other religions have a theoretical state of disfellowshipping - the Catholics have excommunication, for example. And it is pretty rare, it seems in other faiths that follow it.

    So - is there any other established major religion which has disfellowshipped so many of its own members as the witnesses?

  • asilentone

    50 percent, there are about 40,000 df'd each year, it has been going on for years, Count them up!

  • pirata

    Here's a statistical guess:

    "Elders disfellowship 50,000 to 60,000 Witnesses around the world each year, Brown said." (http://www.religionnewsblog.com/7784/spiritual-shunning). That article was in 2002, in which year there were 6,000,000 publishers. That makes about 1% per year when comparing the number disfellowshipped to the number of publishers. This jives with the stats at http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/statistics.php.

    Applying 1% per year from 1961 to 2009 yields approximately 1,600,000 disfellowshippings.. Assuming that all those disfellowshipped in the past 50 years are still alive today, that means that ~ 1,670,000 / (7,000,000+1,670,000), 19% of the people, who have been or are JWs, have been or are disfellowshipped. The percentage number stays about the same even when applying a death rate of 0.85% per year to DF'd ones.

    Numbers (publisher statistics taken from: http://www.jwfacts.com/images/publisher-table.jpg)

    Year Publishers Est DF'd
    1961 884,587 8,846
    1962 920,920 9,209
    1963 956,648 9,566
    1964 1,001,870 10,019
    1965 1,034,268 10,343
    1966 1,058,675 10,587
    1967 1,094,280 10,943
    1968 1,155,826 11,558
    1969 1,256,784 12,568
    1970 1,384,782 13,848
    1971 1,510,245 15,102
    1972 1,596,442 15,964
    1973 1,656,673 16,567
    1974 1,880,773 18,808
    1975 2,062,449 20,624
    1976 2,138,537 21,385
    1977 2,117,194 21,172
    1978 2,086,698 20,867
    1979 2,097,070 20,971
    1980 2,175,403 21,754
    1981 2,247,486 22,475
    1982 2,342,634 23,426
    1983 2,501,722 25,017
    1984 2,680,274 26,803
    1985 2,865,183 28,652
    1986 3,063,289 30,633
    1987 3,237,751 32,378
    1988 3,430,926 34,309
    1989 3,624,773 36,248
    1990 3,846,311 38,463
    1991 4,071,954 40,720
    1992 4,289,737 42,897
    1993 4,483,900 44,839
    1994 4,695,111 46,951
    1995 4,950,344 49,503
    1996 5,167,258 51,673
    1997 5,353,078 53,531
    1998 5,544,059 55,441
    1999 5,653,987 56,540
    2000 5,783,003 57,830
    2001 5,881,776 58,818
    2002 6,048,600 60,486
    2003 6,184,046 61,840
    2004 6,308,341 63,083
    2005 6,390,016 63,900
    2006 6,491,775 64,918
    2007 6,691,790 66,918
    2008 6,829,455 68,295
    2009 7,046,419 70,464
    TOTAL 1,677,751

  • asilentone

    where did jwfacts get those figures?

    edited: I noticed that he said "est"= estimated.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    As he said, it is 1% of the number of publishers in any given year. It's an approximation but a good one.

  • pirata

    They are the average publisher stats published yearly in the yearbook/watchtower (current year available online at http://www.watchtower.org/e/statistics/worldwide_report.htm)

    The 1% figure I arrived at using a different source, but agrees with the 1% figure at jwfacts.

    Note that the 19% is NOT 19% per year. It's 19% of those DF'd in the past 50 years compared to the average number of publishers today.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    So approximately for every 5 active Dubs on earth there is 1 DFd Dub.

    5 against 1. I think we can take 'em.

  • JWoods

    Very interesting - so my guess at 15% was a little low; probably it is more like 20%...

    Now, asking again - is there ANY other religion who has disfellowshipped such a large number of their own membership?

    I would guess not. I would also think that this number is a shameful stat for JWs.

    Of course, JW leadership would be proud of it - they are "keeping the congregation clean".

    I say if the organization were really so clean, they would not need to DF this many.

  • keyser soze
    keyser soze
    50 percent, there are about 40,000 df'd each year

    Either your math is really bad, or there are only 80,000 JWs.

  • undercover

    And remember... DFing is the official way out the door.

    How many more have gone the 'fade' route... just quietly quit and never been tallied as someone removed.

    Someone somewhere on this forum some time ago did some number crunching and came up with a hypothesis that the religion basically turns its memebership over every so often. Except for a fairly small percentage of die-hards, it's a revolving door of those coming and those leaving, especially among the young ones raised in it.

  • miseryloveselders

    Except for a fairly small percentage of die-hards, it's a revolving door of those coming and those leaving, especially among the young ones raised in it.

    They are truly bleeding in regards to young people leaving. I've given talks in different halls, with different backgrounds. Black, White, City, Country, etc.. Every hall I've noticed young people with a distinct look on their face. Its so obvious they don't want to be there. In the congregation I grew up in, there were a little more than a half dozen of us. Only two remained, one being myself, and I'm plotting my exodus right now.

    Those numbers look accurate. Crazy to imagine a religion that prides itself on being happy, yet almost a quarter of the people in it are leaving either do to being shunned, fading, resisting pressure to get baptized, or flat out leaving by disassociation. I wish there was a way to gauge how many are staying to appease family and close friends. I bet that number is significant too.

  • asilentone

    keyser, there are some long time JW publishers included in those numbers, thats probably why I might miscalculated the percentage. I am thinking about asking the most Genius woman in the world, she usually answer tough questions. I forgot her name, let me google it. She might give us different answers from us.

  • asilentone
  • asilentone

    I have not asked her yet, anyone here dare to ask her?, she might give us some good answers.

  • steve2

    Some silly number-crunching has been made. Please give your calculators a rest for a few minutes.

    Numbers disfellowshipped over the years may well vary significantly year to year, so unless the Watchtower publishes the numbers - as they have occasionally done - there's way too much speculation involved with the percentages.

    However, two key points regarding disfellowshipping have seldom ever been dsputed:

    1. Most of those who are disfellowshipped have committed so-called "sins of the flesh"; to put it another way, they have not been disfellowshipped for apostasy. That's why we keep hearing of people who've been disfellowshipped who intend going back at some stage. An earthquake or terrorist activity can sometimes spur up the return.

    2. A good proportion of those who have been disfellwoshipped actually do go back. So before you get out your calculators, you will have to factor in the revolving-door syndrome: "kicked out but crawled back". Yes, these sorry repentant sods are devils for punishments.

  • JWoods
    I have not asked her yet, anyone here dare to ask her?, she might give us some good answers.

    How would she know? Is she an authority on JW demographics? I kind of lost respect for her when she answered a question from readers in that Parade column she writes - it was: "What food would you pick if you were in prison for life, and could only have one food item to eat?" She picked dog food.

  • pirata

    Please note that it was stated

    19% of the people, who have been or are JWs, have been or are disfellowshipped

    The numbers above do not attempt to estimate the numbers who are DF'd and remain out. Merely the amount of people that have been DF'd in the past 50 years in comparison to the number of publishers last year.

  • asilentone

    I do remember very well the brother from Brooklyn Bethel that was giving the talk in the 1980 circuit assembly that said that about 40,000 has been disfellowshipped in 1979. Compare it to JW facts figure in the year of 1979.

  • steve2
    19% of the people, who have been or are JWs, have been or are disfellowshipped

    Rubbish. That amounts to nearly one fifth of active JWs. If it were anywhere near that amount....you can be sure, the GB would be making an even big deal about the need to keep the congregations clean. If this based on cumulative figures over decades, statistical distortion enters the picture big time. People should be familiar with the phrase that goes something like, "There are statistics and then there are lies".

    Each of us would know from our current and/or previous congregations that relatively few were disfellowshipped. Far, far greater numbers just left or faded. For example, in my local congregation, we'd get say at most 3 announcements a year that an individual had been disfellowshipped or no longer wanted to be a part of the "Christian congregation...etc". Some years, there'd only be a single announcement.

    BTW, we had higher numbers who were publicly reproved. There were a revolving number of say 90 to 120 publishers in that congregation by the time I left. Do the math.

  • pirata

    silentstone, The only figures from jwfacts are the total publishers. I applied the ballpark 1% estimate to that for the estimated numbers disfellowshipped (3rd column).

    steve2, I think the phrase is, "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics". I was suprised at the high number myself. However, the 1% figure comes from a number of different sources. In addition to the statement above, jwfacts also reports a few others:

    This is based on Watchtower 1992 July 1 p.19 "In recent years disfellowshippings worldwide have been approximately 1 percent of publishers."

    Watchtower 1986 January 1 p.13 stated, ?It is to be noted, also, that during the past year, 36,638 individuals had to be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation? In 1985 average publishers were 2,865,183, so 36,638 represented 1.28%.

    Watchtower 1987 September 15 p.13 ?Unfortunately, during the 1986 service year, 37,426 had to be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation?? Of the 3,063,289 publishers this represented 1.22%

    In regards to the cumulative figures over decades, the 1% amount is applied to the number of publishers per year and is not derived from the previous years calculation. The main question is how accurate the 1% figure over the course of each year. If we went with 0.5% disfellowshipping rate instead, that would still come to about 800,000 people total.

    The jwfacts page takes a different approach and looks at the difference between the numer baptized and the increase in publishers. Using that method (and assuming a death rate of 0.85%) there are about 1,000,000 unaccounted for from 1996 to 2005. That's a more accurate measure of NET movement (including reinstatements).

    Each of us would know from our current and/or previous congregations that relatively few were disfellowshipped.

    Applying the 19% figure to a congregation that currently has 100 publishers would mean that 1 person would have to get DF'd ever 2.6 years over the past 50 years (not taking into account death rate) in that congregation.

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