New Study Cites “Masked Churn” of Jehovah’s Witnesses


US Religious Landscape Survey 2007

This Sunday, Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world will gather to study the Watchtower article, “‘Rightly Disposed’ Ones Are Responding.” The article cites the “remarkable growth” that Jehovah’s Witnesses have experienced and calls attention to some statistics from the religion’s annual report. In looking at their internal statistics the Watchtower does not give equal consideration to the shocking number of Jehovah’s Witnesses that leave their ranks. However, an independent survey released today highlights that very thing.

The report, from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, shows that of American religions, Jehovah’s Witnesses have the lowest retention rate of any religious tradition, with only 37% of all those who say they were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses still identifying themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses. About this, the Time magazine article America’s Unfaithful Faithful states,

An even more extreme example of what might be called “masked churn” is the relatively tiny Jehovah’s Witnesses, with a turnover rate of about two-thirds. That means that two-thirds of the people who told Pew they were raised Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer are – yet the group attracts roughly the same number of converts. Notes [Pew Forum Director Luis] Lugo, “No wonder they have to keep on knocking on doors.”

This study simply cites something that honest Jehovah’s Witnesses have noticed for years. In 2006, just prior to being expelled from the religion, I wrote the following in a letter to members of my congregation:

Of what benefit is it if we spend 6,000 hours in the field service to bring one person to a knowledge of the truth when in the meantime twenty brothers and sisters have slipped out the back door due to discouragement or lack of attention? Our ministry would be in vain! Please remember that we are to “work what is good toward all, but especially those related to us in the faith.”

The religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses is geared toward door-to-door proselytizing, which they commonly refer to as “service”. There are internal monthly time quotas that members of the congregation must maintain in order to remain “in good standing”. Congregation elders, in particular, are heavily scrutinized by the amount of time they spend each month in the door-to-door work. Even if they are fine shepherds, diligently caring for the needs of the flock, they can be removed from service if their time consistently falls short of the expectation.

Like most people today, members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, are incredibly busy. Elders are generally family men, working full time jobs, with heavy religious organizational responsibilities on top of that. The failure lies in that so much attention is placed on making converts, in the time crunch the needs of existing members of the congregation often go neglected. The challenge that Jehovah’s Witness elders face is if they should spend their limited time visiting and encouraging members of the congregation or proselytizing. Sadly, because they cannot count the time spent shepherding the flock on their monthly report the door-to-door “witnessing” work wins out and the congregation continues to suffer.

Despite the Watchtower’s claims otherwise, the door-to-door work is highly ineffective. For example during their last “service year”, Jehovah’s Witnesses spent some 1,431,761,554 hours engaged in their public ministry work. However, during that time only 298,304 were baptized. This means that the individual Jehovah’s Witness, who spends an average of 10 hour each month in the work, will take an amazing 40 years to make one convert! Even at that, the majority of new members come, not from the public ministry, but through more family and informal personal connections. Nevertheless, the new Watchtower continues to push Jehovah’s Witnesses to focus near exclusively on their trademark, door knocking, form of evangelism. In the meantime, these statistics show that the religion is not meeting the needs of its adherents he dwindle over time.

4 Responses

FernandoOctober 2nd, 2009 at 9:33 am


Hi Anthony

Most JWs are proud of their proselytising activities. Of course they do not fully realise that proselytising is teaching RELIGION. Jesus’ words at Matt 23:15 were likely directed at the elders of his own congregation. It is clear that Jesus was against religion and teaching religion. Religion really is relating to God on OUR terms (self-justification, self-righteousness).

Clearly Jesus also viewed ALL religion as “a snare and a racket”, a truth that JWs have abandoned quite some time ago…

*** yb75 p. 161 Part 2—United States of America ***
For Gladys Bolton, information marching was “the hardest work of all.” She also says: “Each placard read differently, but the one that stands out in my mind is ‘Religion is a Snare and a Racket!’ My, how the clergy ‘loved’ that!” Concerning the sign “Religion is a Snare and a Racket,” Ursula Serenco observes: “This was the time when we did not designate ‘true religion’ and ‘false religion’; all religion in totality was bad. The true we referred to as ‘worship,’ while the false was ‘religion.’” — END QUOTE —

Indeed the word “religion” appears to mean “form of worship” which is not the same as “true worship”. It would seem then that the phrase “true religion” is an oxymoron and a Satanic deception.

“The gospel” outlines the Christian dispensation – relating to God on HIS terms – through faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice and his consequent high-priesthood. Therefore the true gospel is “true worship” at this time.

Is it possible to be an “evangeliser” as Paul was if one does not know what “the gospel” is? Just ask any JW to explain what “the gospel” is in a single word, and then expand to a phrase, sentence and paragraph. Most have no idea that “the gospel” and “the good news” are one and the same thing. Most believe and teach a “good news” that has no high-priest, no saviour, no atoner/reconciler, no deliverer/liberator, no justification (imputed righteousness), no faith, no repentance. In short JWs have burnt the MAP and focus exclusively on the DESTINATION namely RESTORATION (the Kingdom). Sure restoration is a part of “the good news”, but without the map (Christ) are they likely to get to the destination??!!??

The scriptures referring to the anti-Christ certainly fit JWs and their “sham” “counterfeit” version of “the good news” even though their own publications warn against this very thing.

*** w82 8/15 p. 22 par. 11-13 “Put Up a Hard Fight for the Faith” ***
…there really is no other good news or message of salvation worthy of credence. (Galatians 1:6-8) And a prominent feature of that good news is that Jesus Christ died for the whole world of mankind. …In Jude’s day false teachers professing Christianity were endeavoring to foist a counterfeit good news upon God’s people. Such teachings threatened their faith and salvation. …If we, as present-day Christian witnesses of Jehovah, are to remain loyal to God and escape deception and loss of salvation, we, too, must “put up a hard fight” against any sham good news, earnestly resisting, wrestling against, attempts to add to or take away from the teaching of Jehovah’s refined, inspired Word. — END QUOTE —

So clearly then the elders and their followers and leaders are apostate, spiritistic anti-Christs. They are proselytisers just like the elders in Jesus’ day, and not evangelisers like the apostle Paul. They are contemptuous of the various parts of the suit of spiritual armour which looks remarkably like “the gospel about the Christ”. Indeed miserable, poor, blind and naked – the blind leading the blind – what a sorry sight.

Best wishes on your Christian journey.

I personally do not believe you are “outside the camp” of the saved or righteous. JWs are neither. They deny key teachings and scriptures related to justification (imputed righteousness) by faith in our ONE mediator between God and man. They ritualistically reject his blood and flesh at their annual memorial celebration. They care only about the “field ministry” – rejecting and/or neglecting the “personal ministry”, “family ministry” and “congregation ministry” as you have outlined. Their “field ministry” involves not making disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, and caring for them, but recruiting converts (aka captives) to their religion (aka cult).

You have been counted worthy to be chucked out of the camp of the deceived (lost, unrighteous) and the deceivers (damned, wicked).

As one of Jesus Christ’s saved, justified sheep you are now in his camp and under his care.

Christian Greetings

Your brother in Christ


JamesMay 27th, 2010 at 8:52 am

Any religious organization’s goal with numbers is attain, consolidate and increase.

Where this can come undone is if in the attaining stage people are recruited on what later becomes known as faulty information. Then the retention of numbers takes a nose drive.

Within the Watchtower Organization this happened in the years leading up to 1975.
From the late sixties to 1975 the numbers
sky-rocketed. What was being preached worldwide brought many people into the organization. However 1975 did not fulfill what was expected.

Many examined in retrospection what had been printed by the Watchtower Organization and saw the chronology of Adam and Eve as printed was faulty.
From 1976 the retention rate dropped.

This same phenomenal outcome occurred after 1925 and 1914 for the same reason that prompted the fall off in 1975.
Retrospection showed it to be faulty chronology. It is far better to get it right the first time. Lives are involved.
To walk at a pace the children can attain.

To attain,consolidate and increase requires truthful information.

JadenDecember 8th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Please exuse my spelling here.
it is true that most people become Jehovah’s Witnesses by informal contact, but the door to door preaching is somewhat effective. also, members are not neglected, but of course are expected to put forth some effort.

No one is critisised for not spending a certain amount of time preaching.

and frankley, i think that if someone wants to know the truth about Jehovah’s wittnesses, show up unexpectedly at one of their meetings, and see what they’re really like.

AnthonyFebruary 28th, 2011 at 10:39 am

Jaden. Thank you for your comment. I can’t say that that the door-to-door preaching method doesn’t produce converts. It does. I stand by my statement that it isn’t very effective as even some current Jehovah’s Witnesses will reluctantly admit.

I disagree that no one is criticized for not spending a certain amount of time preaching. If one is not active in the ministry, falling behind the national average, they will be viewed as “spiritually weak” and not “exemplary”. These are just a couple of terms that are used.

To your last point, if one shows up at a meeting they will no doubt be impressed by Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are well-groomed, very-polite, and will take a real interest in visitors. What I can compare this to is any number of families that are are well respected in the community, giving the impression of being a perfect family that anyone would want to be a part of. However, the family, in secret, is very abusive and doesn’t match the outward appearance. Unfortunately some get involved with Jehovah’s Witnesses based on initial impressions and by they time they learn differently, they are already stuck.

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