How many here believe the WTS really has has 8.5 million followers / 8.5. million members

by Hotpepper 28 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • WTWizard

    If you go by "one that will, according to their own theology, survive Armageddon if it were to happen right now", I think the number is well under 8.5 million. I think it is under 5 million, as well. I wonder how many of them are simply turning in fake time or having fake time turned in on their behalf. Others are doing it simply for show, or because it's their means of controlling others' lives. Still others are not "doing enough"--they are simply doing enough to avoid hounding, but not all they possibly can. Remember, according to their theology, they need to do all they absolutely can (not "reasonably", absolutely) and with "pure motive" in order to survive.

    If I use that measure, the numbers are actually going to be way lower. How many are making 200 high quality hours of field circus simply for joke-hova's sake? Not very. I would say the numbers should be down in 6 figures, not 7.

  • sir82

    The numbers don’t add up where I live.

    The 8.5 million is the global number.

    I don't see how you can determine whether there is still growth in Brazil, Botswana, or Bolivia because attendance is down at the 3 or 4 Kingdom Halls you are familiar with in your small corner of Canada.

    The WTS is scrupulous with their numbers. There are definitely 8.5 million persons who "turn in a time report" every month, which is what the number represents.

    How many of them "really" believe it? How many of them are engaged in "secret wrongdoing" that would get them disfellowshiped if exposed? How many are trapped and just going along because they don't want to lose family, friends, business contacts, or pretty much the only way of life they have ever known?

    Those are different questions, of course. "True believing" JWs are certainly much less than 8.5 million, but there is no accurate way to measure what that number would be.

    But 8.5 million "turning in a field service report"? Certainly true.

  • eyeuse2badub

    The watchtower organization can pad the numbers like any business. They certainly lack transparency when it comes to their financials. Still, 8.5 million is still a very tiny number compare to other religions that have been around for about the same amount of time.

    The 8 guys in New York are worried for sure!

    just saying!

  • Giordano

    How many turn in deceptive or misguided field service reports will always be a question.

    Counting numbers is more of a business way of keeping track. Since this religion is more of a corporation then a religion the numbers misdirect.

    The Mormons list a membership of 18 plus million Mormons. But they get to that figure by counting every one who was born-in or joined the Mormon religion but turned inactive.

    In the past....... JW yearbook surveys included.....Baptisms, Peak Publishers and 'Leavers'. Check the memorial attendance and deduct peak publishers and you have an idea who shows up once a year out of respect or curiosity.

    Leavers could be JW's who died, or JW's who left the religion. The numbers I saw indicted that half of those who identified with the religion left it one way or another.

    While you can still leave........ as long as you don't mind being shunned in one form or another .........prior to 1980........ a person who left without having committed a major sin simply left. Family and friends could stay in contact. The friendships usually faded, but family ties could be maintained.

  • Incognito

    How many congregations have been discussed on this forum that have been amalgamated over the past 5 years? Do WT yearly reports truly represent the decrease in the number of congregations that were observed as being dissolved?

    If reported congregation numbers are not accurate, what makes you believe the number turning in field service reports will be?

    Even so, it's easy for the Report Elder hounder to call to convince a non-reporting publisher into claiming at least 15 minutes of preaching activity when they didn't do any.

    Elder: 'Think hard. You don't want to become inactive. You must have spoken about The Truth to someone in the past month'

    Pub: 'Weeelllll ... yah, I guess you're right. Put me down for 1 hour'

    Elder: 'Great! Take care'

    A person answering a census will often indicate the religion they were born into, even as they may not have been active in that or any religion for 50 years.

  • road to nowhere
    road to nowhere

    S L.

    Heck. Ask a witness what they preach about and they won't know.

    If you turn time in too late it goes on the next month report as TWO publishers. The average should take care of that. But not peak numbers.

  • Wakanda

    I swear I read somewhere here, or reddit, that they count the groups as congregations. It was supposed to be from bethel. Anyone else come across that?

    Sounds like something they would do. Seems like groups are popping up everywhere, and sometimes they only have a meeting quarterly.

  • neverendingjourney
    Every census result I have seen gives higher figures for JW menbership than their own publisher numbers: Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, or any country that has a census which asks citizens to specify which religious denomination people belong to, sometimes by a significant margin. So in terms of self-identified affiliation, I wouldn’t be surprised if the worldwide figure would be over 10 million.

    Let's unpack this a bit. I don't think the average Witness cares much about how the WT goes about deciding who counts and who doesn't count for purposes of their annual statistics. They're much more likely to pay attention to the rate of growth or decline.

    The WT has been using the same metric for decades. I have very little doubt that the number of people who self-identify as Jehovah's Witnesses is larger than the number of publishers who have turned in a time slip at least once in the past six months.

    In a sense, you can view this as a sign of honesty: If the WT were truly dishonest, they'd start counting everyone who attends the Memorial! But actually, an abrupt change like that would be very noticeable and would likely be more detrimental than not.

    The 10 million figure you cite isn't particularly helpful if the goal is determining whether the WT is "cooking the books." If you could reliably compare the 10 million figure versus what that same figure was 1, 5, 10, and 20 years ago, you could start to plot trends on a graph. One would expect that trend to parallel official WT number of publishers. If there was a significant discrepancy, it would be strong evidence that the WT numbers aren't reliable.

    In other words, the real doubt is the WT's honesty in revealing the true rate of growth or decline. The raw number of Witnesses isn't really an issue as there are many different credible ways of trying to arrive at the definition of what constitutes a Jehovah's Witness.

  • Spiral

    I think it's all about context. I know of DF'd and inactive ones, that if asked by a census taker, would reply they are JWs. I know of active publishers that actually never go out in service. Do any of these people really believe in everything the bOrg teaches? Probably not. But they would still describe themselves as JWs in certain contexts.

    So, even the numbers that the bOrg collects only really reflect those that would pass certain criteria. Some level of belief, some level of attendance, turning in some hours (accuracy varies). But these people still consider themselves JWs.

    As to whether the organization cares about accuracy, I actually doubt that. They are so far down the honesty rabbit hole they probably just do their own thing. If they try to create the impression that the bOrg are growing (somewhere, not everywhere) then the believers will still give money. If they were to disclose (if true) that the bOrg is shrinking, the generous ones might quit giving. That's just human nature. Humans love numbers and they love numbers that get bigger. Ask any marketing manager or financial planner.

    I don't think it matters. On a true, mental level, I doubt there is anywhere close to 8.5 million. I am also sure the numbers reported by the Mormons and the Catholic Church are inaccurate as well.

  • joe134cd

    I absolutely and totally believe they are true and accurate.

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