Decrease of numbers in Jehovah's Witnesses via Deaths, DFings, or Turning Inactive
Mr Flipper asks a good question above, how many who left, are still out ??
Just my own experience over 58 years. Of the ones I have known who left, about 75% remain XJW's, the returnees were nearly all ones who had been DF'd, so were not really perhaps XJW's at heart, but many DF'd remained XJW. The majority by far of those who faded away remain XJW.
I hope that makes sense, and it is purely my own experience/observation.
From what I see in my congregation and other congregations in the area: We've been the same people for years. All baptisms are sons and daughters of publishers. The numbers are growing because brothers and sisters have children. At least where I live, young couples are deciding to have children. They all know that couple in their 50s not having children because they thought the end was 'at hand' and they don't want to make the same.
Last week I was speaking with an COBOE and he told me he was worried because there are 80 publishers in his congregation but the attendance numbers are really weak: 60-65 on Sundays, 50-55 during the week.
I think the attendance numbers can give us more info about the 'spirituality' than others because it's easy to fake preaching numbers, not from the part of the WT but from brothers and even elders.
Even more detrimental for the Borg is......how many are still there in the flesh (*and counted as still "in") and maybe even turn in a few token hours.........but no longer take their wallet out of their pocket.
That is the "DECREA$E" that is worrying those in the Ivory Towers of Brooklyn.
What DesirousOfChange said.
Up 'til now, I think we've all really underestimated the effectiveness of "voting with your wallet".
(BTW... "DECREA$E"... clever :wink:)
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. Peace out, Mr. Flipper
The global numbers give some insight, but only up to a point. The country-by-country numbers will be even more fascinating - there could well be substantial decreases in already weakening countries that is being offset by bigger increases in developing territories,
The best result would actually be big swings on both sides - a huge decrease in already weakening countries, even with gaining increase in developing territories.
Even if the developing territories are increasing further, they don't bring in the cashflow that the WTBTS needs. Meanwhile a few percent decrease here and there in the top 10 countries should ring alarm bells for the leaders and perhaps even the awakening rank-and-file.
I remember the pre-1975 years when the numbers soared and KHs were built to hold 250 to 300 people and the memorial stats had many congregations with over 250 and more. Then 1975 came and went and people stopped coming. There were 6 empty rows of seats in the back and finally the chairs were removed....made the decrease too evident. Some even took out seats that were bolted down. KHs after that were not built to hold more than 150. Eventually most at the congregation came in after 1975 and the few that had not left or died or moved away, did not remember the pre-1975 days.
O.K. now for page 2 responses. Thanks again for your replies.
LISA ROSE- Thanks for supplying the graph from JW Facts. I find it pretty interesting that the rate of JW's exiting increased from 1996 to 2005 as compared with 1986 to 1995. I believe the generation changes in WT doctrine had a big effect on many in that time period leaving. I hope it continues. Thanks for your research !
RATTIGAN 350 - Thanks for clearing up how publishers are counted as opposed to baptisms counts. I never paid attention when I was a JW as I was never an elder. LOL.
THE GIRL NEXT DOOR- Good point you make about the " peak publisher " thing. It draws out all the irregular publishers to come out of their holes and report field service time occasionally- so that presents another variable.
STEVE 2- You bring up another good question, " What percentage of active publishers are not yet baptized ? " Good point. Like I mentioned to another poster there are so many variables to consider it's impossible perhaps to get the figures accurate. But I agree I like Lisa Roses information - that's really helpful. Good point about jw.org being a babysitter for JW's who don't attend meetings.
ONEEYEDJOE- Your point that the number of baptisms lag behind the newer unbaptized publishers is a good point. Most publishers eventually become baptized JW's. Interesting point you make about the WT Society artificially inflating the numbers. Thanks for sharing.
Have to go finish cooking a Thanksgiving breakfast this morning- will be back later to respond to the rest of pg. 2 comments ! Thanks again. Peace out, Mr. Flipper
SIMON- I like your comparison to a company going through problems- and we definitely know with the construction cutbacks and layoffs the WT Society is experiencing hardships now. I think as you stated this will affect the morale of the field ministry recruiting process when JW's see that the WT Society is cutting back and consolidating tons of JW's crammed into kingdom halls - and then - to bring new recruits into crammed up kingdom halls ? Mixed messages might start sinking in to some of these J-dubs.
ON THE WAY OUT- Yeah, I'm sure the WT Society will count as many children as they can to pump the numbers up. Hell- They'd count animals, circus carnies , and pull midgets out of the closet just to inflate numbers.
FINKELSTEIN- You know- you make a really good point. To make young 10 year old children feel responsible to turn time in on a report sheet each month is absolutely ridiculous. Ridiculous to make anybody do it really. The control in this JW cult is astonishing.
VIDIOT- Slow death by attrition. I'm glad that there seems to be a lot of " conscious classers " inside the JW's who have stopped donating. If some of these someday actually decide to totally leave the cult- JW's numbers would go way down.
PHIZZY- Yeah, I agree with your point- I do think the vast majority of those who exit the organization stay away for good. I once had an elder tell me that only one out of 3 disfellowshipped people return and get reinstated , or about 33 % . But that was in the 1990's he told me this- before all the scandals got exposed. So indeed your 75 % number is pretty close I believe.
THEWALKER- Good point you make that about the only new recruits many times are rank & file JW's kids being baptized. And also for sure lackluster meeting attendance is a good indicator that things are going downhill for the WT Society. Even the JW's are apathetic about their own beliefs. It's because the WT leaders are like the boy who cried wolf too many times about the alleged " time of the end " coming and it might very well be that inside the minds of some JW's - they just don't believe in the hope anymore.
STEVE 2- Yes so it seems that meeting attendance is lackluster in many areas in the world for sure.
DESIROUS of CHANGE- Good point - there are a lot of " zombie body's "sitting in these kingdom halls right now who are not donating because deep down they don't believe in what the WT Society is doing. It may eventually catch up to the WT leaders financial pockets.
88JM- Good point- analyzing the global trend of increases and decreases may give a better view of the entire situation as to what's happening in advanced countries as opposed to developing countries .
BLONDIE- I was a teenager in the pre 1975 days that you mention and I remember kingdom halls crammed to the limit for memorials numbering 250 to 300 at memorials as well. Everybody was trying to save their own ass at what they thought was " Armageddon " coming allegedly in 1975. Well, 40 years later here in 2015- WT is seeing decreases in attendances at even the memorial. It's amazing what unfulfilled prophecies do to people's expectations isn't it ? Hopefully more will wake up and smell the coffee. Peace out, Mr. Flipper