Jehovah’s Witnesses, also known as the Watchtower, has been on the decline since September 2010. This is NOT based on a leaked letter or some secret document hidden from the ordinary Jehovah’s Witness by the Governing Body.
Every year Watchtower produces a statistical Service Year Report that shows the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses. To the average person, the report gives the impression that everything is ok and fine with Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, Watchtower does not disclose the 5-year rolling average of various indicators of growth for the previous years to give a clearer picture of whether “Jehovah’s chariot is on the move” or slowing down.
The graph below (and other graphs here) presents data for the past 20 years obtained from the Service Year Report. It is evident that the number of new persons recruited as publishers, have been declining since September 2010. This is some six (6) years prior to the publication of the findings (Case 29) of the Australian Royal Commission regarding Watchtower’s handling of child sexual abuse and just about 2 years prior to the commencement of civil litigation by Candice Conti.
To put things in perspective, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been maintaining a steady decline 7 to 8 years before the COVID-19 pandemic began, with no indications of the rolling average increasing despite Watchtower’s numerous interventions.
An increase in this rolling average would often translate into increases in the rolling average of other indicators of growth – but this has not been happening.
Additionally from the table below, the number of new publishers started to decline during the services years of September 2006 to August 2011. What is even more interesting is that for the three (3) service years prior to the pandemic, September 2016 to August 2019, the number of new publishers gained was 338,650. This is less than half of the new publishers gained during the previous 5 years. During the 2 service years of the pandemic, Jehovah’s Witnesses recruited 9,139 new publishers.
New Publishers - Sept. 2001 to August 2021
|Sept. 2001 to August 2006||609,999|
|Sept. 2006 to August 2011||903,897|
|Sept. 2011 to August 2016||736,686|
|Sept. 2016 to August 2021||347,789|
Other Statistical Indicators of Growth
These indicators were calculated as follows using the new publishers as an example and the statistics from the Service Year reports:
Average Publishers (2001 service year report) minus Average Publishers (2000 service year report) – this would give the amount of new publishers gained in the 2001 service year. This is repeated for the next 20 service years. A 5 year average is then taken for each service year starting with September 2005 to August 2006 service year and using the new publishers gained between the last 5 service years September 2001 to August 2006. These calculations can also be performed for other indicators of growth such as field service hours, bible studies and memorial attendance.
No other assumptions were made such as the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses who died, got disfellowhipped or went inactive for each service year.
Field Service Hours
This is the amount of hours spent by Jehovah’s Witnesses spreading the gospel and includes time spent going house to house, telephone evangelism and writing letters, amongst others. The graph below shows that the 5-year rolling average for this indicator was on a decline since September 2013.
Additionally from the table below, the number of field service hours spent started to decline during the services years of September 2006 to August 2011. What is even more interesting is that for the three (3) service years prior to the pandemic, September 2016 to August 2019, the hours was 104,796,683. This is less than half of the hours spent during the previous 5 years.
Field Service Hours - Sept. 2001 to August 2021
|Sept. 2001 to August 2006||164,883,974|
|Sept. 2006 to August 2011||373,128,511|
|Sept. 2011 to August 2016||276,669,044|
|Sept. 2016 to August 2021||-560,723,823|
Bible Studies/Potential Publishers
This is the number of non-Witness individuals whom Jehovah’s Witnesses are attempting to convince/indoctrinate that they have the “truth”; that the only way to be “saved” and “gain salvation” is by joining their religion. These persons include minor children of parents who are Jehovah’s Witnesses; and adults who are in vulnerable circumstances; gullible and looking for something that gives them some sense of hope.
The graph below shows that the 5-year rolling average for Bible Studies was on a decline since September 2011 and took a sharp nose-dive since September 2016.
Additionally from the table below, the number of Bible Studies started to decline during the services years of September 2011 to August 2016. What is even more interesting is that for the three (3) service years prior to the pandemic, September 2016 to August 2019, the number of Bible Studies conducted was -497,082. This negative value meant that for the service years 2016 to 2019, the number of non-Witness individuals who could have been potential publishers/members, fell drastically – only 1 year had a positive increase of 8,185.
Bible Studies/Potential Publishers - Sept. 2001 to August 2021
|Sept. 2001 to August 2006||1,364,916|
|Sept. 2006 to August 2011||2,204,128|
|Sept. 2011 to August 2016||1,624,518|
|Sept. 2016 to August 2021||-4,207,097|
This is the number of global attendees who were present at the Memorial, which is held between March to April of each year. These attendees include active and inactive Jehovah’s Witnesses, some former members, relatives and friends of Jehovah’s Witnesses and any minor children of these attendees.
This is the only religious event “celebrated” by Jehovah’s Witnesses. During the past 20 years, the 5-year rolling average of the Memorial Attendance fluctuated between highs and lows. The last peak in this average was for the September 2010 to August 2011 service year. Thereafter, it followed a downward trend and rebounded at the September 2020 to August 2021 service.
Several factors accounted for this rebound including the use of communication technologies such as emails and WhatsApp to send electronic invitations; this event was held virtually due to the pandemic; no major effort was required from attendees other than being punctual and in front of any electronic device with an internet connection.
From the table below, Memorial Attendance dropped drastically during the services years of September 2011 to August 2016. It rebounded for the three (3) service years prior to the pandemic, September 2016 to August 2019 and also for the last previous 5 years. This is the only consolation indicator of growth of Jehovah’s Witnesses and maybe the least important as most non-Witness attendees do not translate into Bible Studies and subsequently new publishers.
Memorial Attendance - Sept. 2001 to August 2021
|Sept. 2001 to August 2006||1,300,127|
|Sept. 2006 to August 2011||2,699,624|
|Sept. 2011 to August 2016||710,405|
|Sept. 2016 to August 2021||1,282,461|
It all makes sense! – Failed Interventions
Jehovah’s Witnesses have used various interventions for the past 20 years under review, to improve their numbers of the service reports and recruit new members. These include demonizing and scaring persons away from material that critically review their beliefs and practices. They have used both printed religious material and videos to accomplish this objective. Below are a few extracts starting from the year 2010 to present:
*** The Watchtower 2011 2/15 p. 19 Do You Really Appreciate Your Blessings? ***
However, we must be on guard against allowing unwholesome influences to cause us to lose our enthusiasm for the truth. For example, paying attention to apostate propaganda can becloud our thinking and blind us to the value of the spiritual “food at the proper time” made available by Jehovah through “the faithful and discreet slave.”—Matt. 24:45-47.
André, who had served Jehovah for years, had the bitter experience of being led astray by apostate thinking. He felt that having a quick look at an apostate Web site would not be dangerous. He recalls: “Initially, I was attracted to the so-called truths that the apostates spoke of. The more I examined what they said, the more I came to think that I was justified in leaving Jehovah’s organization.
But later, as I did some research on the apostates’ arguments against Jehovah’s Witnesses, I became aware of how crafty the false teachers were. Information taken out of context was their ‘strong evidence’ against us. Thus, I decided to start reading our publications again and to attend the meetings. Soon I realized how much I had missed.” Happily, André returned to the congregation.
*** The Watchtower 2011 7/15 pp. 15-16 pars. 5-6 Will You Heed Jehovah’s Clear Warnings? ***
. Apostates “quietly bring in” corruptive ideas. Like smugglers, they operate in a clandestine manner, subtly introducing apostate views. And just as a clever forger tries to pass phony documents, so apostates use “counterfeit words,” or false arguments, trying to pass their fabricated views as if they were true. They spread “deceptive teachings,” “twisting . . . the Scriptures” to fit their own ideas. (2 Pet. 2:1, 3, 13; 3:16) Clearly, apostates do not have our best interests at heart. Following them would only divert us from the road that leads to eternal life.
Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected with a contagious, deadly disease. You would know what the doctor means, and you would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are “mentally diseased,” and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings. (1 Tim. 6:3, 4) Jehovah, the Great Physician, tells us to avoid contact with them. We know what he means, but are we determined to heed his warning in all respects?
*** The Watchtower 2012 5/15 pp. 25-26 par. 13 Are You Reflecting the Glory of Jehovah? ***
Jehovah hates sin, and so should we. Indeed, we ought to move as far away from wrongdoing as possible and not see how close we can get to it without being overcome by sin. For instance, we need to guard against succumbing to apostasy, a sin that would make us unfit to glorify God. (Deut. 13:6-9) Let us therefore have nothing to do with apostates or anyone who claims to be a brother but who is dishonoring God.
This should be the case even if he is a family member. (1 Cor. 5:11) We are not benefited by trying to refute the arguments of apostates or those who are critical of Jehovah’s organization. In fact, it is spiritually dangerous and improper to peruse their information, whether it appears in written form or it is found on the Internet.
*** The Watchtower 2013 12/15 p. 8 par. 7 Avoid Being “Quickly Shaken From Your Reason”! ***
Admittedly, Christians would face dangers other than those from apostates and their teachings. Paul wrote to Timothy that “the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things.” The apostle pointed out that “by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.” (1 Tim. 6:10) “The works of the flesh” would also be ever-present dangers.—Gal. 5:19-21.
*** The Watchtower 2014 7/15 p. 14 par. 10 Jehovah’s People “Renounce Unrighteousness” ***
Today, Jehovah’s people are not often confronted with apostasy within the congregation. Still, when exposed to unscriptural teachings, regardless of the source, we must decisively reject them. It would be unwise to engage in debates with apostates, whether in person, by responding to their blogs, or by any other form of communication. Even when the intention is to help the individual, such conversation would be contrary to the Scriptural direction we just considered. Rather, as Jehovah’s people, we completely avoid, yes reject, apostasy.
*** The Watchtower 2017 July p. 30 Winning the Battle for Your Mind ***
Do not be “quickly shaken from your reason” when faced with what appear to be damaging attacks by apostates or other such deceivers of the mind—however plausible their charges may seem.
*** How to Remain in God’s Love (lvs, 2018) p. 245 Endnotes ***
Apostasy is taking a stand against the truth of the Bible. Apostates rebel against Jehovah and against Jesus, the appointed King of God’s Kingdom, and try to influence others to join them. (Romans 1:25) They want to create doubts in the minds of those who worship Jehovah. Some people in the early Christian congregation became apostates, and so have some in our day. (2 Thessalonians 2:3) Those who are loyal to Jehovah have nothing to do with apostates. We would never allow curiosity or pressure from others to cause us to read or listen to apostate ideas. We are loyal to Jehovah and worship only him.
*** The Watchtower 2018 August p. 4 par. 4 Do You Have the Facts? ***
We should not waste our time viewing questionable Internet news sites or reading unsubstantiated reports circulated via e-mail. It is especially important to avoid websites promoted by apostates. Their whole purpose is to tear down God’s people and to distort the truth. Poor quality information will lead to poor decisions. Never underestimate the powerful effect that misleading information can have on your mind and heart.—1 Tim. 6:20, 21.
*** The Watchtower 2019 November pp. 15-16 par. 8 Are You Maintaining Your “Large Shield of Faith”? ***
For instance, apostates publish lies and distort facts about Jehovah’s organization on websites and through television and other media. Those lies are among Satan’s “burning arrows.” (Eph. 6:16) How should we respond if someone confronts us with such lies? We reject them! Why? Because we have faith in Jehovah and we trust our brothers. In fact, we avoid all contact with apostates. We do not allow anyone or anything, including curiosity, to draw us into arguing with them.
*** The Watchtower 2020 July pp. 23-24 par. 11 Keep Walking in the Truth ***
We must reject apostate teachings. Since the beginning of the Christian congregation, the Devil has been using many deceivers to plant doubts in the minds of God’s faithful servants. As a result, we need to know how to discern the difference between facts and lies. Our enemies may use the Internet or social media to try to undermine our trust in Jehovah and our love for our brothers. Remember who is behind such propaganda, and reject it!—1 John 4:1, 6; Rev. 12:9.
*** The Watchtower 2020 September pp. 29-30 par. 15 “Guard What Has Been Entrusted to You” ***
Like Timothy, we must also discern the danger of false information spread by apostates. (1 Tim. 4:1, 7; 2 Tim. 2:16) For example, they might try to spread false stories about our brothers or raise doubts about Jehovah’s organization. Such misinformation could undermine our faith. We must avoid being fooled by this propaganda. Why? Because these types of stories are spread “by men who are corrupted in mind and deprived of the truth.” Their goal is to start “arguments and debates.” (1 Tim. 6:4, 5) They want us to believe their slander and develop wicked suspicions about our brothers.
*** The Watchtower 2021 May p. 13 par. 19 Nothing Can Make the Righteous Stumble ***
Do we see the same problem today? Yes. In modern times, a few well-known Witnesses have left the truth, become apostate, and then tried to turn others away. They have spread negative reports, half-truths, and outright lies about Jehovah’s Witnesses through the news media and the Internet. But honesthearted ones are not stumbled.
*** “Put up a hard fight for the faith”! – David Splane, 2021 Convention*** Satan is behind the twisted teachings of apostates. He is “the father of the lie.” And those who lie are doing exactly what their father does. The apostates have nothing to offer us, brothers. All they have to offer is hate. All they have to offer is criticism and negative talk.
All of the above interventions by Watchtower, year in year out, have failed to increase the 5-year rolling average of new publishers and the other rolling averages. The more Jehovah’s Witnesses draw attention to apostate material, the more members and the wider public will have a tendency and curiosity to view and access them.
Jehovah’s Witnesses can do absolutely nothing to prevent the public from viewing/reading reviews, from both current and former members, about their religion – this scare tactic has not been working for the past 10 to 12 years!!
The impact of former members who share their experiences and highlight the lies of Watchtower through various online platforms, have all contributed in one way or the other, over the past 20 years, to the decline in the growth indicators of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some reason “Is it really that bad? If what Watchtower says is the truth, then it should stand up to scrutiny”. But has Watchtower’s beliefs and practices been standing up to scrutiny? Has Jehovah’s Witnesses really been open and transparent?
Is “Jehovah’s chariot is on the move” or has it been stuck and broken down?