Is the number of JWs leaving increasing?

by dozy 18 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • respectful_observer

    Because there are not a lot of useful metrics that allow it to be accurately calculated, it's hard to say.

    On top of it, for those that decide to conciously "fade", having access to forums such as this one allow them to do so in a more discreet manner. Also, anecdotes that we all read seem to indicate that there may not be necessarily a greater percentage that are leaving, but there may be an ever growing number of "nominal JWs", who still attend meetings, report some service time (whether it's accurate or not), and have serious doubts about doctrine, but are not willing to turn their personal lives upside down over the issue.

    One metric that can be accurately measured, is not whether more are leaving, but if fewer are responding to the JW message and joining. I don't mean in terms of net increase-- there is still low single digit point growth every year-- I mean of all the people JWs preach to, the percentage who actually respond continues to decrease. Somebody's got a graphic out there that tracks how many hours of preaching it takes to get 1 convert over the last few decades. That number has been steadily increasing and shows no signs of slowing down.

    Is it because JWs are less effective teachers?

    Is it because more and more JWs over-report (lie) on their monthly service reports?

    Is it because fewer people are interested in religion?

    Is it because people who are interested do some research on JWs on the internet and decide to stay away?

    There are no clear answers, but if any or all of the above are true, it will only cast a longer and longer shadow over the Watchtower Society as time goes by.


  • OneEyedJoe

    I can't remember the last time I heard someone announced as DF'd. To be fair, though, my mid-week meeting attendence has been quite spotty. There's been one particularly nasty divorce in our congregation recently, and I think the husband was DF'd, but I have no way of knowing if it's because he found TTATT, or if it was just because he couldn't put up with her crap anymore and started cheating on her. (I'm certainly not typically a 'blame the victim' type, but in this case I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner.)

    Anyways, it's really difficult for me to objectively estimate the general mood and level of meeting attendence since I've only been awake for about 4 months.

    Interestingly, the CO did seem happy with meeting attendence last time he came by, but I did hear that the elders were somewhat displeased that he didn't make a bigger deal of meeting attendence than he did. My (wishful) thoughts are that the CO may be more aware of a general decline, so he may see the small decline in our congregation as a positive thing (if most other congregations are experiencing a larger decline) while the elders just see that there's been a decline and are upset about it.

    There's a good JW facts article, though, that demonstrates that there's definitely a signficant decline in growth, and from the trend it seems likely that there will soon be a year over year shinkage. That's using the official numbers, even, and those could easily be cooked to give the R/F a false impression of the wonderous work that's going on.

    It's also been about a year since the local elder who's a bigwig on the RBC has been absent to work any new projects. I can't remember the last time a local congregation split, and that used to be something that happened once every 3 years or so. Our hall is also 1 or two congregations below it's capacity for the first time in probably 15 years.

    So there seems to be circumstantial evidence of decline, though it's managed in such a way that no one really seems to notice. The memorial attendence has also peaked in 2011, which is also likely to be indicitive of a new trend.

  • TTATTelder

    I think their desperation in artificially boosting numbers will only last so long and actually guarantee a future decline.

    It's sort of like the big 0% financing craze in car sales that happened in the U.S. around 2001-2003 or so. There was a huge influx of buyers and then suddenly sales fell off a cliff. They sucked in all the buyers for a couple of years and then growth screached to a halt.

    I see that happening to WT when they run out of 8-12 year olds. They bumped down the acceptable baptism age to artificially boost numbers, but this boost will only be temporary. It may not even work temporarily (if my international convention baptism numbers are any indication).

    I can't remember the last time a local congregation split, and that used to be something that happened once every 3 years or so. -OEJ

    Totally agree. I can't remember the last time I saw a congregation split. I actually just heard of two Spanish cong's combining.

    What's funny also is this - we have a couple in our hall that go down to Mexico to serve the "English Need". In all the years of the glowing stats of bible studies and such that they report, that cong in Mexico has still not split.

    All in all, the WT is in trouble - they know it - and they are ready to spin the inevitable decline as a sign of "sifting", "refining", etc. Look forward to Watchtower articles on how "narrow and cramped" the road to life is and how it is getting even more so as this system reaches its end. Satan is intensifying his efforts blah blah.

    Heck they will probably pull the "Gideon and his 300 Men" story out of the drawer and turn it into a prophecy for our day. LOL


  • Apognophos

    Since we don't know the real numbers nationwide or worldwide, I think all we can do is give our experience with our own or neighboring congregations. I certainly haven't seen any decline in mine. The friends are quite zealous, and the kids are staying in as they grow up.

  • Question_Mans_interpretation

    I think growth for the whole organization is probably stagnate or maybe even starting to go negative judging by the decrease in baptisms I saw at my own assemblyhalls and district conventions. I was raised JW, 4th generation, as my great grandparents received "the truth" on their farm back east and now being 30 Ive had a little observation under my belt. I remember as a kid watching some 20 people get baptized at our assembly hall in Madera, CA and now at the last assembly I attended I think only 9 were baptized.

    My husband and I were on our way out when we were disfellowshipped on grounds of "Disassociation" because we started to question the 1914 prophecy 3 years ago and had attended a few services at a local church that our elders found out about and so they formed judicial bodies against us. They couldnt just let us leave in peace and so we have had a very faith testing year because of it but we still feel blessed to have our faith in the bible and not be discouraged by a controlling organization claiming to be gods representatives. We can definitely be added into the statistics of those leaving the organization because we have questioned the doctrines and now mostly likely are labeled apostate, so our old congregation definitely has a negative growth rate as we were the 3rd and 4th people DF'd with in just a few months of some other unfortunate souls.

  • jgnat

    I think the disaffection may show in field service. Think of the "Witness Walk" slowed to a crawl.

  • LisaRose

    Well, you could use the yearly reports, compare publishers from year to year, then subtract the number baptised, that would give you the number of JWs that either died or left, using average death rates you could make a pretty good guess as to how many left. They will have disguised it a bit by counting people in nursing homes with the fifteen minute rule, but that will only work for a year or two. Of course in the end you don't know if the numbers they report are at all accurate.

  • TTATTelder


    Welcome to the forum! Sorry to hear about your experience. Look forward to hearing more details.


  • Vidiot

    I have it on good authority that 9 or 10 congregations in the Peace Country area of northern Alberta/Britich Columbia have been dissolved/consolidated in just the past few years.

    The more that leave, the more will feel they can leave.

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