Jehovah's Witnesses May Have Peaked in Membership at 8 Million (+/-)

by OnTheWayOut 74 Replies latest jw friends

  • kairos

    The big question I have is how do the JWs not see this?

    I believe stubbornness play a big role. ( and denial )

  • slimboyfat

    We've been predicting JW decline since this forum started in 2000. But it feels a bit different this time. The forward momentum really seems to have stalled and credibility has taken a hit. But then, it's a bit hard for me to tell because I haven't been to meetings for a while whether the sentiments expressed on this forum reflect what's going on in the congregation. It does seem different.

    But I do think the Witness carts are a phenomenal flop and a complete waste of time. The publishers just stand there talking to each other. Door to door work was already quite unproductive but somehow they've contrived to find an even more unproductive way for publishers to spend their time. At least with door to door work there was a sense of "covering territory" and making progress, even if nobody much was interested. Cart witnessing just demonstrates no one is interested. It must be so demoralising.

    Only one congregation meets in our hall. The nearest next Kingdom Hall is about 15 miles away. If we were reassigned to that hall I really doubt if more than half would keep going over the longer term. Attendance would plummet. I'd love to see it just to observe it playing out.

  • kairos

    Many are leaving. I know this for a fact.

    Sadly, I believe there is a much larger number of deaths in this equation.

    In my area there have been about ten deaths in the last 3-4 years.
    There are upwards of 30 or more locally, that if they died suddenly, it would NOT be a surprise at all.

    "Millions now living will never die"...

    "What a privilege to be among this generation that will never pass away"!

    And I'm an apostate!

  • TheOldHippie

    "I don't have all the details of their new "service year" numbers, but I have read enough on JWN to state my opinion pretty strongly."

    Yeah, nothing is a good as strongly stating one's opinion without having bothered with the details ....

  • dozy

    I think that the WTBTS has basically been in decline ( in Europe , at least ) since the 1975 debacle. The numbers kind of mask it a bit but most of the growth is from the third world and more religious countries like the USA & Mexico where JWs are just another religion getting a part of the religious cake.

    The heyday really was the 60's when the WTBTS grew on the back of the hippie revolution and the early 1970's "stay alive till 75" inspired surge. Ever since then , with 1914 receding into the memory banks and the generation teaching fudged and changed it has been a religion that is long since past its sell by date.

    I remember when I was younger almost all the congregation would go out for the day into the rurals on the ministry on a weekly basis. We did that year after year in the 70's. In the 90's , when I was the service overseer I constantly tried to organise similar events but nobody was bothered. Once only myself & a young pioneer brother turned up. JWs have mentally moved on - weekends away , shopping , chilling with friends - going to the beach or a football match. Family study is sticking a Caleb video on for the kids.

    When I was a kid , meeting attendance was 120% of the congregation. There were always interested people along - studies , people making progress. I honestly can't remember the last "interested" person that got baptised.The last CO visit I had as an elder , we were 60% ( and the CO commended us for being one of the best attended congregations in the circuit. ) It's ceased becoming a participative religion.

    I went to a funeral recently from my old congregation - most of the members are middle aged or elderly now. I asked about one or two younger ones who weren't there that I didn't see and was told that they "no longer attend". Certainly the impression I get from my still in JW relatives and their few children that have stayed as JWs is that being a JW is basically as much as a social network as anything else. People stay in out of inertia and habit and lack of an obvious alternative but I don't see a lot of enthusiasm. The parrot is still on its perch but really it died a long time ago.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Finish page 3 replies:

    James Mixon said "Hearstafire;I hope you are right 'Hispanic families extremely close'"
    James, many foreign language families in the US are tighter than English speakers. They come over and take care of their own.

    JWdaughter, by shaving the hair off, I hope you mean they need to get rid of everything, including the membership.

    Esse quam videri, they have 8 year olds, but if they capture them, they leave as old teens or young adults. Many parents know this and don't let their 8 y.o. get dipped.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Start page 4 replies:

    berrygerry, that might be a better way to look at it. -The 15-minute report rule, and the infant baptism, have been used up.
    There are not enough young ones and old ones to bolster the publisher numbers anymore.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Continue page 4 replies:

    Beth Sarim, I believe Memorial attendance has been down for one year before, so that's not quite enough to run with. But I do believe they are stacked up with evidence of a tipping point, memorial attendance not climbing being one of the many things.

    Keep in mind that inactive and barely active and "Bible" students and family and coworkers come to the Memorial. It takes a whole bunch of new Memorial attendees to get a few studies out of it. Someone is not coming- be it inactive ones or the family and coworkers of JW's. I imagine that hardly any slightly interested ones from the field recruiting come to the Memorial, at least not in my experience. If the most recent growth was in keeping elderly JW's active and getting youths baptized, they were already attending the Memorial. So this one year down could be significant in this case. It doesn't indicate a bunch of people leaving, but it says that they may not be getting newbies.

    never a jw, wonderful thoughts- The impetus ..... is wearing out rather fast. Indeed. Older ones have waited and waited and waited and....... for Armageddon. Young ones are not bothering.

    Dunedain, I see a steady stream coming in here. It seemed to rise a bit higher earlier in 2015, maybe awhile after the famous "spanks" talk.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Page 5 replies:

    Kairos, I believe the JW's see this. it adds to their insecurity about JW's being "spirit directed." They see the very reasons others are leaving. The number of deaths factored into those leaving must be climbing. But nobody is there to take their place.

    slimboyfat, that is how I see it. It's just too much- money problems, reductions in printing, drastic doctrine changes that seem driven by the calendar, and telling members to follow directions even if they seem unwise. Cart witnessing will demonstrate to the average JW just sitting there how nobody wants that crap.

    TheOldHippie, I said it was my opinion. That was clear. And what i meant by not "having" the numbers was that I read much of it, but will not be trying to tabulate, gather, compute from those numbers. Your opinion and sincere look at the numbers is more than welcome. This is a discussion forum and I am just discussing, not closing down Watchtower.

    Dozy, from my reading they retained a majority of the pre-1975 growth for several decades. They started growing again from the field eventually because of the cold war, Iran, the first Gulf War, gas prices, etc. etc. .....added to the idea that the end must really now be that much more imminent. Members who were inactive or barely active still fell for the "1914 Generation" and the idea that it was coming in the "20th century." Even my mother was sure that the story about the time between Eve's creation and Adam's creation was a valid excuse for 1975. (By the way, that can still barely fit chronology, but it's getting thin.) These things kept them hanging in there.
    But the 1995 disconnect on "this generation" and the flip flops ever since, the young GB members, the 100-years of Jesus' presence- all this has taken it's toll and the internet has highlighted it well.

  • AllTimeJeff

    Great topic. I would like to draw attention to a couple of key bad points in time for the governing body.

    1975 came and went and nothing happened. People left. But the bills were still being payed.

    The Internet happened in the mid 90s. Slowly but surely, money has dried up. While it is true that what happened and the slowed growth after 1975 was masked because of all the growth in non-Western countries, it is clear that the governing body has been in its death throws since the Internet. All that is happened lately is that momentum is gaining and growing faster and faster. ( oh yeah, they also lost their biggest pedophile case in court. That cooked their goose. )

    What's amazing to me is, after all the demonization that the governing body has gone through to make sure that their flock doesn't research them on the Internet, now they have completely done a 180 and asking everyone to get all of their information from the Internet. It is this kind of "leadership" that demonstrates just how far gone the governing body really are from being viable.

    Nothing demonstrates more that the witnesses are indeed a business than the fact that printing is dying. Clearly that was the source of their income. The other source of wealth for the witnesses has always been their properties. Which is why you see the sale and consolidation of branch and kingdom hall properties. All the governing body is doing right now is panicking. They are hoping to buy time and settle all of their lawsuits. It seems reasonable to predict that at the time when this storm passes, you will likely see an admission that previous prophecies were in fact wrong, there will be some fake humility, and at that time they will consolidate and run their business as a smaller version of themselves, so long as they can still run it and live off the donations of their flocks.

    What they have been trying to do is hold onto the bloated memories of what they used to be in the 1960s and 70s. Clearly, they are realizing that times are changing, and that they are way behind. Less meetings. Less printing. All things lead to the website.

    All things lead to the website?! Don't they realize that information on Jehovah's Witnesses is a Google search away? Of course they do. By now they realize that that the Internet is not going away. For the sake of their survival they will change, because they can no longer hide. When they do that, it will be the ultimate admission of their hypocrisy.

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