The story of my congregation in the last five years.
My elder brother told my sister just recently about the amazing growth in the organization, here in southern Calif. I told my sister it's BS.
Funny you say that James, my mother has told my sister about all the growth in her area to and how packed out her DC was. What my mother failed to realize is that several of the congregations merged so yes the ones left are packed and her DC was moved from a building that could hold 18,000 to a building that only holds 1500.
@ Crazyguy - Yep, its true, anytime someone stupidly says, wow its crowded, or cant find a seat, so we must be increasing, its ALWAYS a case of "smoke and mirrors".
Its crowded only AFTER ,2 or 3 halls merge. Its a crowded assembly hall because DOUBLE the circuit goes there now. Its NOT growth its deceit. There is NO growth anywhere, not even in 3rd world, developing countries. The borgs days of "growth" have long been over. They have resorted to lying about the "numbers", and why shouldnt that be so far fetched, as they have lied about every other aspect of their existence, and their first and foremost goal is protecting the image of the Borg. If they showed it was declining that would hurt the borgs image, and that is a NO NO.
I'm 1000 miles from my last congregation and have been for 25 years. So this is all old and from afar.
In about the mid 70's we moved from the congregation I was born into to a new one nearer to our house. It had 2 congregations. Eventually in the early 80's after a decline, they had to merge. They had 12 elders and cut half of them. Most to nothing, my dad to MS which is the highest position he ever had from then on. The ones left were toxic and vindictive.
Very few eligible sisters for me and my brother, now midway through our teenage years, so, concerned we find JW mates, our parents moved us again to a congregation even closer that was filled with young people. The one I faded from eventually.
I don't know what it's like now, but after I left my father moved to an even further away congregation where some of the people from my original one wound up. My original one and my second one are both no longer congregations. Poof. The hall my dad moved to was a double-build (two back-to-back halls with, I think 2 congregations each). But, I think even before my dad died, they were consolidating those. I think it went from 4 congregations to 3 to 2. Next thing you know, they're going to have this odd 2-hall shaped building to sell. Maybe for the land...
I think looking back over the years, you can kind of watch things flow. When I was born, 1975 was on the horizon. And there was a big increase. It came and went, but people hung on. Then Franz published his book. Lots of apostasy. And those that did come aboard for 1975 were starting to get tired. They may have been convinced to stay, but the reason they were there was for something to happen and it wasn't. So some of them left. The younger ones were growing up and leaving, leaving mostly middle aged ones and older. Then the internet came along and it was even harder to recruit and maintain people. Along with indefinite generations, overlapping generations, etc. Once you've been in it for so many years, some will never leave. But they will die. It's in a dive and won't recover. Some day they'll be as relevant as Bible Students. Yes - they are still around. The ones that JWs were originally. Still clinging on to Russell's teachings.
There is ebb and flow for many things. But I don't see the flow for JWs. They haven't had it for a long, long time.
Also in a congregation of 70 ish I know well ...
Guess how many baptised publishers there are under the age of 26.
And unbaptised publishers? (pre teens, teens, bible studies)
And over age 55?
35 - half of the congregation!
And how many young women/teens have left after growing up in the borg in the last five years? How many older women have DA'd or deliberately gone inactive?
6. + 2.
And older ones who have died in the last five years?
Crazyguy LOL, jw's always had a problem with the most basic maths!
My Fil's congregation in upstate New York, US:
40 in attendance on Sunday
6 elders ages 70-80
6 males under age 30 including born ins (hopefully they are on the way out)
All attendance numbers were double these 40 years ago.