Data for Partakers from 1935-2016. Latest number wasn´t this high since 1954!
Tepidpoultry, I do think flippancy is the right response to all this stupid talk of heaven and sacred emblems.
Holiness resides only in people's minds. Going to heaven, hell or paradise are irrelevant and naive myths. Nobody goes anywhere except to extinction and if someone disagrees, I would love to hear of your evidence for an alternative.
There is obviously a higher case of mental illness going on now. Most new partakers that I knew were literally, and I'm not making light of this, mentally ill. It was rare to meet a new partaker who wasn't mentally ill. You have to feel bad for them.
Watchtower's comments (January 2016):
Those taking the count at the Memorial cannot judge who truly have the heavenly hope. The number of partakers includes those who mistakenly think that they are anointed. Some who at one point started to partake of the emblems later stopped. Others may have mental or emotional problems that lead them to believe that they will rule with Christ in heaven.
So here's what I can't figure out:
If the R&F JWs "can't judge who truly have the heavenly hope", why on earth should we trust the GB?
How many of the magnificent 7 "mistakenly think that they are anointed"?
How many have "mental or emotional problems"?
(Wait, I think I know the answer to that last one....but I digress)
How are we supposed to know? Just take their word for it?
Are you speaking injuriously of glorious ones?
Could the "earthly hope" be losing its draw for some subconciously. There has been a 'wait' for their loved ones up to 80+ (since 1935?) years to see their loved ones resurrected 'soon' here on earth. In the meantime, the JWs believe their loved ones are non-existent anywhere but God's memory. Many religious groups of different kinds believe, or hope their loved ones are 'already' in a "better place." Maybe JWs can't compete with that.
Could the "earthly hope" be losing its draw for some subconsciously. -- GAYLE
I think this is absolutely true.
The advantage mainstream Christian religions have is that you can't prove that no one has ever gone to heaven (I know this is really poor reasoning, i.e. you can't prove a negative anyway, but you'll see where I'm going. . . ). Maybe aunt Doris is in Heaven, maybe she isn't; you prove to me she isn't, I think she is.
However, the idea of aunt Doris being alive in an earthly paradise is demonstrably false, by the the fact that there is no earthly paradise or resurrected aunt Doris.
You can only string people along so far on the "earthly paradise" thing. The heavenly, spiritual afterlife concept is harder to prove/disprove (to people who want to believe in an afterlife).