The Society used to be critical of Christendom for
producing "Rice Christians" in China. (no, they didn't
go snap, crackle, pop when milk was added!). They
were critical of the churches because the numbers
plunged when Maoist Communism took over. Thus, the
stats weren't real.
Ah, but I wonder how real the Society's stats are?
Here's two interesting ones:
In Japan they had 222,347 average publishers in 1998
In 2000 they reported 220,538 average publishers for
a net loss of 1809. However, the number of congregations
went from 3802 (98) to 3538 (2000) reported for a net
loss of 264 congregations (!!!!) I wonder if many
are just "saving face" by turning in imaginary reports.
Here's another: In August of '98 they got their
all time peak in the U.S. of 1,040,283 publishers.
The next month (Sept. 98), 932,347 publishers reported.
-- a net loss of 107,936 in one month.
Both of these look like a "ok, if I turn in some time,
they'll leave me alone". I suspect lots of burned out
publishers do this to satisfy wives/relatives/the elders.
I think the huge ratio between hours reported and converts
made supports this conclusion also.
One good solid scandal in the future might reveal
the truth of the matter - if "paper publishers" melt away.