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

by OnTheWayOut 74 Replies latest jw friends

  • Phizzy

    I wonder if they will ever make 9 million ?

    In theory, they should within a few years, but it seems to me that the decline has started for real, so the Thread Title should be an accurate prediction.

    You heard it on JWN first folks !

  • OnTheWayOut

    Last Page 7 Reply:

    Simon, I wholeheartedly agree that JW members are just going through the motions. And just as everyone knows the minimum they need to do to stay out of trouble, they know the maximum they will dare to stray (or at least admit to). To me, this is part of the slow death- plenty of semi-active members hanging around for decades to come.

    It is just my opinion as nobody can really know, but I think we have passed the point where lack of new recruits, combined with born-ins leaving and deaths, will cause Watchtower to be forced to look at a continual trend of reduction in members.

  • OneEyedJoe

    I wonder if they will ever make 9 million ?

    In theory, they should within a few years, but it seems to me that the decline has started for real, so the Thread Title should be an accurate prediction.

    I suspect we'll have a pretty good idea in about a year. Going by past performance, they should hit 9 million in about 4-5 years, but if they have another year like 2015, I'd say it'll take them closer to a decade, which gives them plenty of time to have enough problems to start to see proper stagnation/decline.

    Since it seems feasible that they're peaking, what do we think will happen when the numbers drop back down to the 7 million bracket? When they officially hit 8 million I think it got a passing mention in a WT article (something like "with over 8 million kingdom evangalizers....") I think everybody locally noticed and a few in the congregation got somewhat excited.

    When genuine decline sets in and becomes obvious to the masses (assuming they continue reporting the numbers) what happens? I think they might've gotten a little unlucky that they're at the bottom of the 8 million bracket because it won't take much loss in membership for people to notice. They might ignore a drop from 7.9 million to 7.5 million thinking that they simply misremembered the details, but knew it was somewhere in the ~7 million range. A drop from 8.25 million to 7.9 million, while smaller, is much more likely to be noticed.

    It seems to me that they may be poised for a short-term feedback loop of people leaving. Those with doubts and the fence-sitters or those who are only in for family may see the noticeable decline as a turning of the tide. The decline itself could well cause many to leave, creating further decline. It wouldn't last forever, but I can see them losing maybe a million in membership in a 4-5 year period due to something like this.

    This is probably on the optimistic side but it seems plausible to me. Fear of something like this is why I expect the GB to turn attention away from reporting numbers (or at least away from reporting all the numbers) in a short while. They'll probably go to highlights that can be more easily manipulated (new peak in pioneers, but don't mention that the hours required to pioneer have dropped precipitously) and stop the full yearly reporting. The good news is that the GB seems to be entirely reactive and in wishful thinking mode, so I think we'll probably see at least one or two years' numbers showing decline before they actually realize the pattern and change how things are reported. That would also give them a little time to lay the groundwork (perhaps a study article on David's taking the census, etc) so that it doesn't come as too much of a shock from an organization that's always been obsessed with numbers.

  • steve2

    Some editing issues at present. will attempt to fix then comment.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Start page 8 replies:

    Phizzy, we can all declare it together. More on this in my reply to One Eyed Joe in this same post below.

    One Eyed Joe, I wonder if they will start saying they will no longer tabulate. "The numbers of online responses make the numbers for active publishers meaningless." Or maybe actually dropping turning in reports except for pioneers. That one sounds radical, but radical is what they are being and whatever they choose to do, I imagine they want to hide the eventual drop in members.

    Looking forward to your thoughts Steve.

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