Current JW growth in the United States in historical perspective and in comparison with other groups

by slimboyfat 28 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • slimboyfat

    They don’t count dead people. Well that’s a relief!

    However, they do count inactive members they have lost touch with altogether, until they reach the age of 110, at which point they assume they must have died. Needless to say, some people die before reaching the age of 110. So it is likely that a number of dead/inactive Mormons are counted.

    Mormons baptised 233,729 (living) people in 2017, which is fewer than JWs. Plus it’s worth bearing in mind that Mormons baptise new members as quickly as possible (within a few weeks, if they can) and often these new members disappear from the church as quickly as they arrived.

    In my local Mormon congregation there is a young local man who was baptised last year and has become active in the church. At the same time he got engaged to one of the missionary sisters and they plan to get married later this year. In his case he will probably stick to the church, all being well in the relationship, because of those personal circumstances.

  • menrov

    It is understandable the WT has grown as they have a large marketing / sales team at their disposal, the so-called publishers. We all agree that they are not very effective (hours spent versus new JW's) but as they spend a lot of time on it, they manage to grow.

    Any organisation who would have so many people at their disposal to promote the organisation, would generate some growth.

    Still, interesting to see these differences among some religious organisations.

  • slimboyfat

    It’s true that JWs do door to door and public preaching more than other religious groups, but that doesn’t mean other religious groups don’t try to attract new members. Other groups spend a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money on publicity and various strategies to attract new members, including advertising, social events, social media and so on.

    Plus I think it is entirely possible, or even likely, that JWs will begin to decline in overall numbers, despite their regular preaching. The forces of secularisation in contemporary society are just too powerful for them to defy gravity forever. Plus they have mounting internal problems to contend with, that must be dampeners on growth, as we are well aware.

    Decline in churches is often preceded by a period of aging membership, and although we don’t have firm data, many of us have observed that JW congregations increasingly consist of older people. In fact, now that I say that, I think shepherdless has presented data that show the average age of JWs in New Zealand and/or Australia has increased significantly in the past couple of decades.

  • joe134cd
    I apologise, but haven’t read all the posts. As a rough gauge for the LDS. Their general conference ( which is comparable to the JW memorial), they have an attendance of 20 million. When you factor in estimations that it is only 33% of that figure are active mormons. The JWs could not only have a bigger, but more active, membership than the LDS’
  • slimboyfat

    I have been to general conference and there were not many local Mormons there at all. In fact one missionary told me that many Mormon families now watch general conference at home on TV instead of going to church. (Sounds like an excuse for low attendance rates to me) Are they included? But I honestly doubt there are 20 million watching even if we include those watching it on TV at home.

  • dozy

    I have to admit , speaking now as an outsider , that I do remain quite baffled that JWs still have growth , or at least are flatlining. It's possible that another factor is that as the barriers to leave are so high then they are able to retain most of their long term members , as well as converting enough children and "interested ones" to grow , albeit at a slow rate.

    Other religions may also evangelise and use social media , but perhaps this just masks / offsets a greater "churn" of members. I know a local Pentecostal church which uses lots of social media and runs a food bank and a childrens nursery ( as conduits to ostensibly do "good works" , but really to try to bring in new members ) etc but hasn't really grown overall in numbers as people come and go.

    I spoke to a friend who used to be involved and he just said that he kind of got bored with it and the politics and constant demands on his time and for donations so he just quietly checked out and he knew many others who had done so. He described the process as just like not renewing a gym membership.You don't really have that easy option as a JW - even fading is really difficult and has often severe consequences in terms of shunning etc..

  • neverendingjourney

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist by nature. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. 9/11 wasn't an inside job. The Earth is round.

    That being said, I have a very difficult time accepting the JW numbers at face value. The reason for this is that Watchtower leadership believes they're entitled to lie to protect the Watchtower's interests. We saw this with the ARC. I read a news article about shunning not long ago where a WT representative outright lied in a way I don't ever recall them lying. Not clever word play. Not half truths intended to convey an incorrect impression. Lies.

    It stems from their interpretation of the Rahab account. Apparently Rahab was authorized to lie because the Philistines didn't "deserve the truth." If leadership believes the flock might stumble if they publish negative growth numbers, I don't think they'd hesitate to pad them.

  • joe134cd

    Slim - let’s just say that the 20 million LDS members physically turned up to general conference. If you add on another 10 million who chose to stay at home and watch it on TV ( 20 + 10 = 30 million in total attendance, or 1/3 chose to not physically show up). If you account for the 33% engagement factor, which would be 10 million. This isn’t to far of from what the JWs are anyway. To be honest I really don’t think there would be to much in it, with membership numbers.

    Then the question has to be asked? If the JWs were to allow their members to attend the memorial by TV link up if they would also produce the same numbers.

    If anything I think the lds attendance at general conference would kind of support the notion that Wt is been honest in its membership numbers, and isn’t cooking the books.

  • slimboyfat

    Yeah it baffles me too. I keep expecting the attendance at conventions to be down, but it never really happens. It’s the same sort of numbers at the convention since 1990s. When you add Polish and others into the mix, probably even a slight increase overall. But what I do notice is there’s a lot more older people than there used to be. A whole section, probably a third of the whole venue is dedicated to old and infirm people these days. I think that is a change.

    It’s possible the growth and persistence of JWs in the UK may turn out to be largely a baby boomer phenomenon. Many of the people who took to the religion pre-1975 were baby boomers, and most of them have stuck with it. Some of them successfully raised families in the religion, others not. Baby boomers and their offspring that remain form the corse of today’s congregations. When they are no longer around it remains to be seen if younger members will carry on the torch to the same extent.

  • LV101

    Good topic - from my observation baby boomers' lineage seem to be hangin' in there or at least some probably because of the WT's hateful shunning rule. Conventions were way down at least 10 yrs ago so I'm not so sure I'd trust their stats -- or anything else as doomsday hype, etc., swelled their base more than once. Mormans don't seem to be such an overwhelming group like they were but still pretty big stuff here. Think they cornered the dental/law market -- medical, too. They learned from the Jewish religion re/education and built their own base -- prolifically.

Share this