Baptism statistics from CO
Just went to the assembly yesterday and during the final talk the circuit overseer said:
'Sure, there are some adults baptised here and there, but do you want to know something wonderful? The vast majority of those getting baptized are teens and preteens!' (audience then applauded)
I thought it was ridiculous for two reasons.
1: Obviously, he's putting in a good light the trapping of children in a cult.
2: It's almost hilarious that he put a positive spin on something that's so mundane. Of COURSE children of JWs are more likely to become JWs, that's how the world works with regard to religion/politics no matter where you go for the most part. Children haven't grown up and formed their own true opinions yet, so naturally they're part of the culture of their parents. That most baptisms are born-in minors only proves that the preaching work isn't terribly effective. Then when you take away all the adults getting baptized that were exposed to JWs as a child but left for a time, the amount of 'converts' in the truest sense of the word is miniscule indeed.
I was at an assembly yesterday too.
Still had the baptism talk of course.
My circuit had about 60-something for the whole year, (all three assemblies). Not sure how that matches up with other places.
Over here we have gone from 50-60 every 6 months to about 10 per convention and the majority less than 12 years of age.
We are growing like the donkey's tail.
At a regional convention of just over 3,000 in my locality (lower North Island, New Zealand) in August this year, 14 were baptized - most were young teenagers.
Contrast that small number baptized to the 1980s and 1990s when there would have been - conservatively - over 100 baptized at conventions with 3,000 in attendance.
Same has Steve2 above, I went to the Christchurch New Zealand convention, 3000 in attendance about 15 baptized, 20 plus years ago the baptism numbers at this convention were always 60+.
When the attendance announcement of 2960 was made on the first day, there was an obvious pause before the traditional clapping started, I believe most people were shocked to hear a sub 3000 attendant figure, all these years we keep getting told that Jehovahs organization is on the increase, but our conventions just keep decreasing in attendance.
JWs are in decline, and it looks like it's gaining pace.
Will they publish the numbers this year? Will they fudge the numbers?
They might want to stop publishing the numbers, but if they stop publishing the numbers then they have no good reason for collecting field service reports. And collecting field service reports is useful for keeping tabs on ordinary JWs and for assessing elders and aspiring elders. So it presents a dilemma whether to stop publishing the numbers or not.
That's an excellent point slimboyfat. Field service reports are routinely used to judge the r&f and gauge their 'spirituality', and they also say that it's 'for encouragement'. They already lost one good reason last year, when all placements were categorized under one count. Now they can't say it's to keep track of magazines, books, brochures, tracts, in stock etc.
SBF, you could call it a conundrum for the organization - either way they are "caught":
Discontinuing reports removes a long-standing "yardstick" against which to feel good about progress and aim for "more"; it also feeds the ever-primed JW gossip mill which thrives on how "bad" is it?
Keeping the reports leads to discouragement despite all the "effort".
Not only would dropping the field service reports mean that Watchtower can't keep tabs on elders and others. But I seriously doubt if many JWs would keep going on the ministry in the long term if it was no longer a measure of activity.
Dropping the reports would be painful. But publishing declines would be painful too. What to do?