Decrease of numbers in Jehovah's Witnesses via Deaths, DFings, or Turning Inactive

by flipper 44 Replies latest jw friends

  • LisaRose

    There are some great graphs at JW facts that looks at this information, although they don't have the last few years.

    They basically used the method as you did. They note that there is a time difference between when a person starts publishing and when they get baptized, but they feel the numbers average out over time. While it's not exact, I do think looking at this numbers in this way does tell you that a lot of people leave or at least stop publishing each year. The increase in publishers is only about half the number baptised, and this is quite a change from prior to 1990.

    This is one of the most telling graphs, showing that the number of people leaving has tripled from the rate in the early 1990's. For the 10 years from 1986 to 1995 the rate was an average of 12%; for the 10 years from 1996 to 2005 it had risen to 41%.

    So there have been clear indications that a lot people were leaving as far back as 1995. Twenty years of slower growth and a lot of churn, but it seems that it is only recently that the governing body realized they have a serious problem. They are trying to change now , but I think it's too little, too late

    JW facts also look at the conversion rate, or how many get baptised compared to the number of bible studies. It's very telling, the number of studies increased, while baptisms plummeted.

    Whilst there is roughly one Bible study conducted every month for each publisher, only a minute amount of these ever progress to baptism. Although the number of studies doubled in the 20 years from 1995 to 2014 to 9 million, the number of baptisms plummeted from over 350,000 per year, flatlining around 275,000.

  • Rattigan350

    When people are studying, they become publishers and are counted as such when they report. Then the number of publishers would increase but without a addition in the baptism number.

    Then when the person gets baptized, maybe in another service year, that person would be counted as a baptism and still a publisher. There is no correlation between publishers and baptisms. Children could be publishers for years before getting baptized.

    Publishers are counted for each slip turned in in a month and reported to the branch. All the months are totaled and divided by 12 to get the average publishers for a year.

    When people turn in reports late, say from April then in May 2 reports would be counted for that person. There would be 2 publishers counted. Enough of those gets the numbers up. That way it will average out but the peak is the highest individual month of reporting.

  • the girl next door
    the girl next door
    I was under the impression that the "peak publisher" total was taken from any given month showing the highest publishers reporting. It would explain special campaign months where irregular publishers and even some inactive publishers are encouraged to engage in the campaign and report time for the month. That month would generate thousands more publishers in the ministry and would be used as the "peak publisher" mark reported in the yearbook.
  • steve2

    The "big" - and likely unanswerable - question is:

    What percentage of active publishers are not (yet) baptized?

    Only when that question is answered can we make meaningful correlations between the year-by-year "differences" between numbers of publishers and number of baptisms to determine losses or gains.

    IMO, it is simply too speculative to correlate publishers and baptisms year-by-year and conclude an x amount loss.

    But, LisaRose, I would agree that doing it over a larger span of time (as shown in your excerpt from jwfacts - 1996 to 2005) would be less tricky to ascertain loss.

    On the subject of losses, I recall a Watchtower from perhaps the 1980s (or maybe 2?) that openly raised the issue of a large number of inactive publishers - so it was an issue that the organization was well aware of.

    I think it has been a perennial problems for the organization - that the number of new baptisms well outstrips the number of publishers over time.

    But, as stated, making a year-by-year comparison is not the way to go unless that question I raised is answered (and it likely cannot be):

    What percentage of active publishers are not (yet) baptized?

  • OneEyedJoe
    There is no correlation between publishers and baptisms.

    IMO this is too strongly worded. There's definitely a correlation, it's just that the number of baptisms will lag behind the number of new publishers. Looking at a single year the numbers don't mean that much to one another, but looking over a longer period I think one can fairly accurately estimate the number leaving. The number leaving might not always include those who were baptized at some point, but if someone becomes a publisher and then leaves I think we can still count it as a win for team TTATT.

    I was under the impression that the "peak publisher" total was taken from any given month showing the highest publishers reporting. It would explain special campaign months where irregular publishers and even some inactive publishers are encouraged to engage in the campaign and report time for the month. That month would generate thousands more publishers in the ministry and would be used as the "peak publisher" mark reported in the yearbook

    The last two Augusts have been good examples of this. I think typically they'll do some sort of reminder that it's the end of the service year and ask for any late reports to be turned in (thus concentrating the late reports in a single month to generate a false peak vs allowing them to come in whenever which would average out) but they definitely did that this year. Then in 2014 they had the big campaign in august. I think the reason for this campaign was primarily to allow them to post a significant increase in 2014 (which it did, the increase in publishers for 2014 was between 25% and 90% higher than the years prior) because they were concerned that any drop in numbers as a result of the arrival of 2014 would be detrimental to them. I think they're paying for it this year, though, because they can only artificially inflate the numbers like that so much before they reach a ceiling.

    What percentage of active publishers are not (yet) baptized?

    I'd estimate this at ~10% at most. In recent years it may well have gone down as the average age of baptism seems to have gone down.

  • Simon

    They always have a special push to get a good peak publisher number, typically in a summer / holiday month like August when people may have some extra time to put in. Average performance is a better measure than peak though for what they are supposed to be measuring.

    Overall I think the best analogy is to compare it to a company going through some problems, making some layoffs, stopping capital projects and growth and likely cutting back in other less visible areas too.

    Morale suffers and just a dip can cause productivity to nosedive. People may report hours still because they feel they have to but they don't really try to recruit like they did before so growth starts to tank.

  • OnTheWayOut

    I have to chime in with Crazy guy from page 1. Children of publishers are the main source of baptisms and they are already counted as publishers. WTS is probably counting as many unbaptized kids as possible to stay up in numbers, and they are running out of kids to count.

    In all the ways to count people, WTS will choose a weird method now that their current method is a problem for "growth. "

  • Finkelstein

    Ridiculous when you think that a 10 year old or younger gets listed as a publisher with a publisher card to fill out once a month.

    Exploitation is the the key ingredient to the operations of the Watchtower Corporation.

    Top that up with the WTS asking children to give up their candy money and you have abuse and manipulation a on grand scale.

  • flipper

    Lots of VERY interesting points all of you folks bring up. I appreciate your comments ! I don't have time to respond to each person today - I have to work for a couple days out of town but I agree with Old Hippie in his observation that there are so many variables involved in these numbers that it's impossible to nail the numbers correctly or totally accurately. Jw's leave, then they come back and leave again- very true. And I like Lisa Rose's way of estimating the numbers over the long haul period of time from 12 % in 1986 to 1995 as compared to that exit rate increasing to 41 % from 1996 to 2005. I truly believe the WT Society really screwed themselves with the 1995 change in the new " generation theory " and it pissed off a fair number of JW's to leave.

    Also what One Eyed Joe said about the numbers getting baptized will lag somewhat behind the number of new publishers is very true- although those numbers somewhat tend to catch up if some of those unbaptized publishers take the desperate plunge into the pool getting dunked at assemblies . It's an interesting thought.

    Just for shits and giggles let's say that of the 3,000,000 JWs or so that appeared to possibly leave from 1990 to 2015 comprised of 1,000,000 witnesses dying that would leave about 2,000,000 over 25 years that MAY have ( not etched in stone people keep your pants on ) exited willingly via inactivity, disassociation or ( unwillingly ) through Dfing . So that would comprise about 25 % of what the WT Society claims is in the JW cult at the moment 8,000,000. Over a 25 year period. Which would of course be substantial.

    Let's play the devil's advocate in a conservative way and say that even more JW's died in 25 years of that 3 million number. Let's say 1,400,000 for instance died physical deaths- that would result in 1,600,000 exiting the cult in a 25 year period which would comprise 20 % of the 8,000,000 the WT Society now claims are active JW's.

    Of course I'm talking out of the side of my mouth and ass here- I get that- don't buy any property or stake a claim to what I'm saying - but it does make for interesting speculation in wondering just how MANY of these ex-JW's STAYED ex-JW's and are still out at present ? I'll take your observations and answers off the air . Gotta go get ready to go out of town. Please feel free to contribute your thoughts. I think it's great to brainstorm between us all and get different opinions. Thanks again , Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • Vidiot

    Slow death by attrition.

    Probably helps that - as I suspect - the remaining "conscious-classers" have finally up and quit donating.

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