As part of my objective analysis of four month's worth of Watchtower study editions from July to October 2011, I found the following gem from a Question From Readers, on page 22 of the August 15 magazine. The question under discussion was "How are we to understand the figures in the annual service report?", and it goes on to provide an idiot's guide to what the figures mean, including the following...
"Memorial partakers. This is the number of baptized individuals who partake of the emblems at the Memorial worldwide. Does this total represent the number of anointed ones on earth? Not necessarily. A number of factors - including past religious beliefs or even mental or emotional imbalance - might cause some to assume mistakenly that they have the heavenly calling. We thus have no way of knowing the exact number of anointed ones on earth; nor do we need to know. The Governing Body does not keep a list of all partakers, for it does not maintain a global network of anointed ones."
This disclaimer has obviously been made in an attempt to extinguish any curiosity as to why the number of anointed "remnant" on the earth is apparently increasing rather than decreasing - from a steady 8000 (or so) to 11,202 (according to 2010's figures). In the past, any decrease has been hailed as justification for increased anticipation that the end is near. Look at this quote from page 31 of the 1981 Yearbook:
Over the past seven years, from 1974 to 1980 inclusive, Jehovah’s Witnesses have made steady progress. Their growth is healthy. Only as to Memorial partakers has there been a gradual decline, which is in accord with Scriptural expectations.
If a decline in partakers is "in accord with Scriptural expectations", then surely the current increase is against scriptural expections. It's therefore perhaps to be expected that the Society has now changed it's tune and said that the number of memorial partakers is of no particular relevance at all.
This aside, the Question From Readers article opens the door to some intriguing questions....
- If partaking at the memorial is something that one might do mistakenly because he/she is mentally or emotionally imbalanced, what assurances do we have that individual members of the Governing Body themselves are not suffering from similar delusions? How is there any way of knowing for sure either way?
- If memorial partakers as a whole are to be openly discredited, shouldn't the validity of Governing Body members as anointed co-rulers with Christ be similarly open to scepticism?
- Given that memorial partakers might be partaking unworthily, shouldn't elders be questioning these individuals congregation-by-congregation to ascertain their state of mental/emotional health, particularly in the light of Paul's words at 1 Corinthians 11:27, "Consequently whoever eats the loaf or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty respecting the body and the blood of the Lord."
I would raise these questions with the Governing Body directly in writing, but apparently I'm no longer allowed !