“I feel as if Jehovah were talking to me right in my room when I listen to members of the Governing Body and their helpers,” says Agatha, a circuit overseer’s wife in Ghana.
2017 Yearbook released
Western countries, even the USA, flat "growth" (virtually 0% increase).
They're just barely replacing the ones who die, DF, & fade. The majority of those replacements are 8, 9, 10 year old kids of believers who start "publishing" under peer & parental pressure.
With (a) the average age of the JW population increasing (which will lead to a higher mortality rate) and (b) the rate of kids who were at some point publishers dropping out by the time they leave their teens continuing to be well above 50%, the future does not look good.
I have often wondered here, "what are they doing with the $hundreds of millions they've collected over the past 3 years from property sales & KH savings fund raids?".
Maybe these numbers provide an answer. They see the writing on the wall, and are socking away a huge investment fund so as to maintain their prestige & lifestyle for the next 20-30 years, even as contributions decline.
Over 30 people in the congregation my wife attends have not put in their report for December yet. There are about 110-120 publishers so it's a large proportion. Sure the time of year makes a difference with people ill and away but in the age of excellent communications it says to me people are simply not that bothered.
Actually AFAIK if 75-80 publishers have handed their report in already for December, out of a congregation of 110, that's pretty good - we're only at the 9th of the month, and they have until the 20th of the month before the report is sent to the Branch....
I think what they do is download the video at Bethel or elsewhere where there is internet, then go out and show it to people on the street or in their homes using a tablet with batteries. I have a friend in Congo and that is what they do. They say that the Caleb videos are a hit with the children, as they have never seen cartoons before.
As shown on the front cover picture of the Study Watchtower September 2016 - although this is Fiji shown, presume it's the same principle...
Excellent compilation of Yearbook numbers since 1981.
For 2016 USA shows an increase of about 3000 publishers, this is not realistic when you take into consideration the migration coming from Mexico, Central America and many other countries.
I notice two of the countries contributing the most to JW growth, Brazil and Angola, are Portuguese speaking. I wonder if there is a shortage of online and print material exposing JW history and practices in Portuguese? If so I wonder if this might be a gap to fill. If JW growth in those two countries halted there'd be little or no growth left overall.
Shepherdless I should qualify my rather excited comments about decline earlier. I doubt we'll actually get an absolute decline as soon as next year. Like you I think it's realistic within 5 years or so. Although with all the cutbacks and redundancies it might happen quicker. It's uncharted territory at the moment. The real question is what happens when decline sets in. It might have a bandwagon effect and the numbers might tumble quicker than we imagine. David Voas wrote about this possibility a decade ago. (Have you read his article?) Having said all that, I still stand by my contention that JWs are faring better than Mormons and most other churches when it comes to growth. In an age of secularisation JWs have been defying gravity for decades. But when gravity catches up with JWs, I wonder how precipitous the fall will be.
But when gravity catches up with JWs, I wonder how precipitous the fall will be.
Gravity will be in full effect when the internet generation enters full maturity (over 30) and will get gradually worse. The internet is a game changer.
I think there is more to the numbers than most realize. We all know that WT blatantly skews the numbers in different ways, sometimes downright making stuff up...ie. counting every single breathing body as an attender, "publishers" as young as 4 or 5, "baptised" ones as young as 8, etc etc. And now the number of "annointed" ones is skyrocketing, when by all accounts it should have been going down.
The point I am trying to make is this: For all the deficits we see, and decreases in publishers and congregations.... this is the BEST CASE SCENARIO. WT does everything and anything it can to make the numbers look good. We will NEVER know the real numbers, because, as we all suspect, they are no doubt much different than portrayed. For example, we will never know the real number of individuals leaving, fading, or DF'd. We can extrapolate, but its only an educated guess. WT would NEVER let that figure out. For all the tens of thousands of hours it takes to gain one baptismal candidate (usually a family member anyway), its pretty pathetic. Its all just busy work.
If the USA stats show things running flat, ..its worse than that. A big decrease in CANADA, ..its worse than that. And they know it.
Again, the point is with all the number crunching, fact twisting, country-bundling, congregation-adding, hour-dropping, this percentage, that percentage, etc etc...... these numbers that are finally published and that you see are the BEST CASE SCENARIO, as good as they could make things look, as shiny as they could polish the turd.
The point I am trying to make is this: For all the deficits we see, and decreases in publishers and congregations.... this is the BEST CASE SCENARIO. WT does everything and anything it can to make the numbers look good. We will NEVER know the real numbers, because, as we all suspect, they are no doubt much different than portrayed.
Well,as I have said for several successive years in response to this kind of oft-made allegation, I suppose anything is possible - except, they have been pretty candid with the huge increase in memorial partakers in 2016 - which must have been a tempting number to downsize, right? If they are so intent on fiddling with numbers to their advantage, I would not expect to see the huge jump from roughly 15,000 partakers in 2015 to well over 18,000 last year. Care to comment on this?
To be "fair" to the men at Bethel who prepare the annual report, we know the "peak" number of publishers for each year CAN comprise double counts (i.e., of publishers who forgot or did not report one month and provided 2 months in one monthly report). We know this because an earlier jw org publication said as much.
Still, if you or anyone else has hard evidence that they are "massaging" the numbers, please provide us with that evidence. BTW, suspecting that jw.org is fiddling with the numbers is not evidence.
Good to see you post again tech49! It's been awhile
I agree with Steve. Skewing statistics is not a good idea. In order to alter the numbers the governing body has to collude with all the branches around the world, and I doubt they would do that. Not wise to cheat when yo know that there are witnesses watching. They are dishonest, not stupid.