Comparing Total Numbers Baptized During the 1990s and the Last Ten Years:
I was congregation Secretary when the change to 15 mins came through and so had the record cards. I would say previous to that that I counted an hour for all the old shut ins unless they went into a nursing home or are home and would often put them down for an "hour". A couple of scrupulously honest ones would say they didn't get anywhere near an hour and weren't happy to count a full hour.
I would say that in our cong of about 85 at the time it allowed one or two to be counted over the years for a year or two longer than they would have done before.
And yes - Secretary's and other elders will put down 15 mins for residents of nursing homes without ever speaking to them or knowing they if they have done any "ministry".
I don't believe these numbers for one minute. They show continued growth and pretty consistent, problem is these are baptisms of people already publishers and what about all the ones that leave or die each year.
Your points needs to be acknowledged.
That aside, the baptisms do not show continued increase year-by-year - and that is the point of the thread.
I showed the peak publishers not to draw any inferences about how baptisms do or don't feed into the peak publisher numbers but simply to show that it takes more publishers to get a diminishing return.
I think it's the internet. The internet was very new in the 1990s and so it wasn't as widely available as today and there wasn't yet a whole lot of info online about JWs. But with the increasing availability of the internet, more and more damning info on JWs became available online so more potential bible studies are doing research on JWs and stopping their studies or refusing them altogether. The internet would be the death of them - and many other religions with equally questionable teachings and histories.
Here's the reality of it, we know with experience that something like 70-90% of the young one leave. That was the case in the USA and probably Europe and Canada, so how can they make up for these numbers with new ones from the field?? No way not going to happen, yes great growth in Latin and maybe some African countries but really I don't believe they make up for the loss. Think about it for a minute, their numbers are showing new ones baptized and then an adjustment for ones that are no longer thier something in the tune of about 50%, according to JW facts. So for every two that get baptized one leaves dies or is DFD. But in reality for everyone that gets baptized their already counted as publishers so when they get baptized their counted twice.
Ok so I'll give them some growth because of the growth in Latin America and maybe in those lands less young ones leave but can that really not only make up for the losses in other countries and show growth? Not the kind of growth they claim. And this is why I believe one minute they were talking about all these building projects then the next their talking sell offs. They other thing that is odd is after the 1975 debacle and the 1995 change to overlapping generations you see a dip in numbers for a couple of years then it's all back to normal for the most part. I don't buy it!
I think they used the perception of growth to push the organization forward, get 60 new publishers and then build or make a new congregation or a few people get together and bam you make a new foreign language congregation. I think my point can be confirmed by the sell off of the halls. I don't think that many are leaving to do child abuse or any other reason yes more then before but not by a huge margin. Their selling the halls because they were never that full to begin with.
Crazguy, they are not counted twice. A publisher is a publisher whether he is baptized or not, so the number of baptized is not added to the number of publishers but is included in it. Death rate is one per cent no matter the life span, those are two different mechanisms.
I don't understand Theoldhippie, it's my understanding if in the year 1980 they have 100,000 publishers and then in 1981 30,000 decided to get baptized then they would state in the next years book they have 130,000 publishers, am I wrong on this?
Yes crazy guy, you are wrong in that assumption.
As I stated earlier, I do not make any cumulative link between annual peak pubs and baptisms, given that a requirement of baptism is to already be putting in your hours each month.
No way not going to happen, yes great growth in Latin and maybe some African countries but really I don't believe they make up for the loss.
If you are in an urban Western congregation, how many African and Latino families have become members?
IMO, this is an active strategy by WT to keep their numbers from totally cratering in the West.
If we measure baptisms / publisher then I think the all time peak was 1973, 1974 or 1975. No year since has come anywhere close to matching the baptism rate per publisher in those years.
My 2c worth:
The situation may currently be slightly worse for Watchtower than the above baptism figures suggest. Firstly, baptism figures are what might be called a "lag indicator" because the actual baptism is a culmination of a year or two of effort. Hence eg the 2016 figure may be more a reflection of success in 2014 to 2015, than 2016. Secondly, the recent emphasis on child baptism would have brought forward a few baptisms, and that is a once-off.
For worldwide decline, I think we would see baptism numbers below 200,000, which may be 5 years or so away; maybe longer. Again, as it is a lag indicator, I think the publisher numbers would be already dropping by the time we see that.
sbf has previously argued that the number of congregations is the best indicator of growth. I agree, and over the last 5 years the no of congs grew 9.2%, whereas av pubs increased 10%. The Borg is still growing, but not in Western countries. I also think that Watchtower has bigger problems on the financial side, but that is another story.