I'm finally off of work for a couple days in order to continue to respond individually here. where I left off ! Thanks for all your thoughts on this subject !
LOSTNOTFOUND- I agree with you- I believe we may see a gradual downturn in the numbers each year but the WT Society isn't going away anytime soon. I don't see any mass exodus coming either. The further they get past 1914 it may affect their numbers gradually as time goes on- but nothing sharply drastic.
THE OLD HIPPIE- I agree with you as well that there are so many variables to consider in counting these numbers that it's impossible to nail it accurately. As you say JW's come and go, some become inactive then they re-activate. They get DFed, then return or leave again. But considering the numbers kind of gives a pulse on what is happening in general - not just precise.
JOOKBEARD- Good point. There is a huge crossover in that unbaptized publishers just get counted again as usually , eventually these unbaptized publishers DO get baptized - so who knows how much overlap there is in counting. Valid point.
LISTENER- Yeah, I thought the 40,000 number for the exiting in 2014 was very odd as well, considering it was over 200,000 for 2015. Interesting.
MEPHIS- I agree with you the 1914 teaching is like a millstone around the WT leaders neck. It will bite them but good in time. And since 2 out of 3 JW kids eventually leave the cult- they do have to have 3 kids just to keep 1 kid inside the JW religion. In more advanced countries the increases have really stagnated and hopefully due to Internet access the growth will slow in developing countries as well.
PHIZZY- You make some good points. With the terrorist attacks in France and threats of war- whenever this stuff starts happening JW's amp up their preaching work and turn on the imaginary " fire alarm " scarring the crap out of non-JW householders they talk to and we see an influx of new JW's getting baptized, I hope it doesn't happen - but the WT Society uses allegedly " worsening world conditions " as a marketing tool indeed. I hope the JW growth slows down in time.
ZOOS- Very good point . A lot of Witnesses stay in for family and only do token service or none at all. It would be interesting to know how many do that.
CODED LOGIC- I understand what you are saying. I'm sure there is an overlap with baptized and unbaptized publishers being counted twice so it's hard to be accurate of course. But it's interesting to discuss the numbers. I'm not looking for perfection here or hard and fast numerical rules.
SIR 82- I agree there is a correlation between new publishers and new baptisms . And it is impossible to say just exactly what the numbers are because we don't know if the WT Society is fudging on the numbers or not, or just how much