Jehovah's Witnesses are purportedly 'active' in 240 'lands', quite a remarkable feat for a planet with only about 200 sovereign states (206 if you count all that are recognised by at least one UN member, of which JWs are present in 166). More than half of all JWs worldwide are in just 10 countries. Over 90% are in 45 countries.
To achieve this mathematical miracle, various places that are not separate countries are counted as 'lands'.
- Tahiti is counted as a separate 'land' though it is part of the Society Islands, which is part of French Polynesia, which is part of... France. Ten other 'lands' are also overseas constituencies of France.
- Britain's external territories make up nine extra 'lands'.
- The Northern Mariana Islands belong to the United States, but are counted as three separate 'lands'; four other US dependencies are also listed as separate 'lands'.
- The former Netherlands Antilles are part of the Netherlands, but make up six separate 'lands'.
- Two extra 'lands' each are squeezed out of Denmark's and Portugal's territories.
- The Federated States of Micronesia is counted as four separate 'lands'.
- If Saint Kitts & Nevis is satisfied with one seat on the UN, how happifying it must be to make up two separate JW 'lands'.
- Even Mauritius gets two separate 'lands'.
- Norfolk Island is part of Australia but is a separate JW 'land'.
- Though they are 'not involved in politics', the Watch Tower Society recognises Kosovo, Palestine and Taiwan as separate 'lands'. If they ever want legal recognition in China, Taiwan will probably have to disappear from the list first.
The 'logic' employed is not always clear:
- Hawaii used to be counted as a separate 'land' but for several years, this has been 'reinstated' as part of the United States
(along with Alaska which also used to be reported separately). It is not clear whether these unruly states had been disfellowshipped or 'disassociated by their actions'.
- JW literature has reported that there are members on Easter Island (Chile), but this apparently is not a separate 'land'.
- The Watch Tower Society seems unfamiliar with the English names for East Timor and Ivory Coast.
The Watch Tower Society reports that they also preach in 30 "other lands", though there are 33 UN-member states not included in their report. Of course, if they have trouble in those countries, there's plenty of other ways to 'increase' the number of 'lands' in which they're 'active':
- Resume counting Hawaii as a separate 'land', and extend this 'logic' to Easter Island (Chile), Tasmania (Australia), Tokelau (New Zealand), and other islands as deemed necessary.
- Resume counting Alaska separately, and extend this 'logic' to Åland (Finland) and Kaliningrad (Russia).
- Count Britain as four separate countries (though this would reduce their statistics for 'Ireland', which they think includes Northern Ireland), and resume counting the Channel Islands as separate 'lands'.
- They've already set several precedents for hiving off Tobago as a separate 'land' from Trinidad. While they're add it, count Barbuda as separate to Antigua.
- Do some 'prison witnessing' on Christmas Island (Australia). Maybe send a sacked 'Bethelite' to Cocos Island too.
- Send a sacked 'Bethelite' to freeze to death in Svalbard (Norway).
- Separate Bosnia & Herzegovina into separate 'lands', and add Srpska to get three 'lands' from one country.
- Grant 'recognition' of Azad Kashmir, Nagorno-Karabakh, Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria and Zanzibar. (Cyrenaica, Kurdistan, Somaliland and Western Sahara are in places that are somewhat less friendly and wouldn't do them much good.)