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


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.

5 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.

ElizabethMay 10th, 2015 at 2:38 pm

dear Antho­ny,
i like that let­ter that you wrote the con­gre­ga­tion before you were thrown out. i won­der why you were thrown out, i hope that it wasent cause of that let­ter! i am one of Jehovah’s Wit­ness and God will­ing i will always be one. i do wish that the con­gre­ga­tion was more sup­port­ive of my needs. i just lost all of my food stamps and i have sev­er­al diss­abil­i­ties so i cant work, i des­per­ate­ly need help but all is i get is peo­ple telling me that i half to have faith and that Jeho­vah will pro­vide but no prac­ti­cal help is offered. im told to go out in the min­istry when i cant even afford prop­er shoes to wear in the min­istry. im very dis­sil­lu­sioned and im hang­ing on by a thread. i love being one of Jehovah’s Wit­ness­es and i will con­tin­ue as long as im able, i just dont know how long i can keep doing this with­out help. i gave up every­thing to serve Jeho­vah. Despite all of this, I love Jeho­vah very much. Antho­ny, you know who has the truth, you know who teach­es the truth. i hope that you can see through all the imper­fect crap that goes on in these con­gre­ga­tions and find your way back to Jeho­vah. I will serve Jeho­vah as long as im able.

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