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Jehovah’s Witnesses To Apparently Cease Publication of Their Annual Yearbook … We All Know Why

It was apparently announced today, during the annual meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses, that the publication of their Yearbook would soon cease.* This is quite a switch from when I was an active Witness, as the Yearbook was something many Witnesses looked forward to eagerly. This book gives a rundown of stats and figures of Witnesses worldwide, along with experiences from around the world.

Stats in the 2006 Yearbook.

Of course, it’s anyone’s guess as to the real reason why this book is apparently no longer going to be published, but I’d like to offer my theories.

Memorial Partakers

One statistic included in the Yearbook is the number of “Memorial partakers.” For those unfamiliar, Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that only 144,000 persons will go to heaven when they die, with the rest of approved Jehovah’s Witnesses living forever in a paradise on earth. (See this website for more information about that teaching.)

Jehovah’s Witnesses observe the passing of the bread and the wine only once per year, which they call the “Memorial of Christ’s death,” or just the “Memorial.” According to their teaching, only those who belong in that small group of 144,000 (“the anointed,” or “the remnant”) should partake of that bread and wine.

Since, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, the number of persons who are to go to heaven is finite or fixed, it would seem logical that the number of those partakers would decrease every year, as those in that group would eventually pass away. Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves embraced this thinking:

“Over the past seven years, from 1974 to 1980 inclusive, Jehovah’s Witnesses have made steady progress. Their growth is healthy. Only as to Memorial partakers has there been a gradual decline, which is in accord with Scriptural expectations.”
~Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1981, p.31

However, there have apparently been over 186,000 partakers from the years 2000 to 2016 alone (see this website). Because of this outright conflict with their own teaching, Jehovah’s Witnesses have said that some who would partake may have a “mental or emotional imbalance”¹ or that they “mistakenly think that they are anointed.”²

Having to come out publicly and say that persons in your own religion are either A) proving your own teaching to be faulty, or B) mentally and emotionally imbalanced and don’t know their own hope for the future, is a futile endeavor, and it doesn’t make the religion look good. However, by discontinuing the Yearbook, no one except those at the headquarters of the religion will know how many persons actually partake of the bread and wine, and Jehovah’s Witnesses will no longer need to cover their own tracks and refute the actions of their own members.

Growth Rate

Publishing your religion’s growth rate can be a good thing, if your religion is continually growing; this cannot be said for Jehovah’s Witnesses, as what little growth they experience seems paltry when compared to the number of hours that are reportedly spent preaching and trying to make new converts. I outlined this information in the post, “Jehovah’s Witnesses Spent 2 Billion Hours Preaching in 2015, to Make 119,000 New Converts?

Of course, my methods of figuring their “growth” may be incorrect, but anyone who runs down their facts and figures, using any accounting method, is probably not going to be overly impressed, especially given the number of hours put into preaching. Pictures I’ve seen inside Kingdom Halls as of late show half-empty auditoriums, and the Pew Research Institute reported that Jehovah’s Witnesses have the lowest retention rate of any religion, with some 63% of those raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses eventually leaving the faith. (See “Jehovah’s Witnesses: A Case Study in Viral Marketing.”)

By discontinuing the Yearbook, Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer need to face scrutiny over their apparently stagnating ranks. They can tell their members that “Jehovah is speeding up the work,” and that they’re experiencing phenomenal growth, and whatever else they want their members to believe, and their congregants will be none the wiser.

Lies

The Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses will always include experiences from around the world, but I personally have found some of those experiences to be a bit dubious, at best. In the column, “Did the 2016 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses Lie In Their Very First Experience?” I note how their first experience in that Yearbook mentioned a couple who “removed their tattoos,” before ever meeting Jehovah’s Witnesses, and with no mention of the pain and expense of such a process.

While I can’t come right out and state for certain that this experience was a lie, the mention of multiple tattoo removal in such a flippant, casual way called into question the truthfulness of the experience; in turn, this calls into question the genuineness of all the experiences in the Yearbooks, at least those that cannot be backed up with photos, exact locations, and the like. Again, by not publishing a Yearbook, the Witnesses no longer face such scrutiny over these experiences.

As said, no one but the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and whoever else makes such decisions at their headquarters, knows for certain the thought process behind discontinuing this Yearbook, if this is actually their plans. However, when one particular publication proves your teachings, growth rate, and experiences to be dubious and downright questionable, you are faced with two options; fix your teachings and truthfulness, or just discontinue that publication … and here we are.

— —

*Editor’s note: Since the initial publication of this post, this information has been confirmed via a copy of an October 7, 2017, letter sent to all congregations worldwide, which says, in part, “Encouraging reports about the activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses in other lands are now provided regularly by means of JW Broadcasting and jw.org. Therefore, the Yearbook will no longer be published. When the worldwide field service report for the 2017 service year becomes available, this information will be published in the “About Us” section of jw.org.”

— —

¹”A number of factors — including past religious beliefs or even mental or emotional imbalance — might cause some to assume mistakenly that they have the heavenly calling.” Watchtower 2011 Aug 15 p.22

²”In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of those partaking at the Memorial of Christ’s death. … The number of partakers includes those who mistakenly think that they are anointed. … Others may have mental or emotional problems that lead them to believe that they will rule with Christ in heaven. Therefore, the number of partakers does not accurately indicate the number of anointed ones left on earth.” Watchtower 2016 Jan study ed pp.25-26

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29 replies »

  1. what a page.
    I doubt if I will get exhausted reading all these writes and legion of experiences. I don’t even know if to hope they are true or not.

  2. This morning we were talking about how cruel the JW have been treating the sexually abused victims. One of the points they might have used to blame the victims being silent during the incidents; however, one the other hand JW officially claim that Christians are not under the Mosaic Laws now. Can Dueteronomy 22:23-27 be applied literally or spiritually? We note that the purpose of screaming mentioned in the text is to let other people know the matter so that the criminals can be punished and the victims can clear their names. What about today? If there are sexual abuse cases found, according to the Bible and the government laws the victims should go and disclose the cases. Since the ruling class of JW are not willing to move a finger to do something about it, they should be responsible for the results of sexual abuse cases inside the organisation. In order to make clear that the victims are innocent, they could and should disclose the matter. (Rome 13:1) Now what are happening in court about the JW sexual abuse cases are in accordance with the laws and spirit of the Bible.

  3. First of all, I can,t really call myself a witness anymore. Reason, I have going to meeting for months now. Field service? I have not gone for years now.
    I have my reservation for the organization, it is far from perfect. Who is anyway.
    However, reading through most of these articles and comments by former JW, all I perceive is bitterness resulting from being disfellowshipped. Please, move on.
    Though I do not see myself going back, but I trying to get back at them shows how unteachable one has become. If you still believe the bible and Christ teaching, then you will realize that been bitter is not the way to go but forgiveness and moving on. We maybe doing worse than those we condemn.
    Like many former JW like myself, move on and let them. Like the bible admonishes, remove bitterness from your heart.

    • No kidding. EVERY single apostate site is one big pity party…They complain about shunning right…THEN ban you if you support the witnesses. Some of the biggest hypocrites on the net are apostates.

    • Many exJWs, myself included, are not disfellowshipped. Bitterness is from how much they hide pedophiles, beat their children nearly lifeless, tell women it’s their fault for being raped and raising rapists, and just general disgusting, disturbing abuses under their roof. If you want to see activism for victims of sexual abuse and violence as bitterness, I don’t know what to tell you.

    • I understand your feelings. BRAVO! You have been able to move on unscathed. I am happy you weren’t a victim of pedophilia as a child, rape as a teen, having someone that you love die by their own hands because they were too imperfect abd human. You went under the radar and was able to disassociate yourself without too much attention or fanfair. You must not have belonged to a family that had an “elder” as its patriarch. Or been a member of a family that belonged in a clique. As for the different groups that have ex members that are “stuck” and can’t seem to move on? They are healing in their time and not yours. If its too much for you, just get off and do like you have been doing, move on. To criticize their experiences makes you no better than the douchebags that came up with “the two witness” rule when going to the board for help when you’re trying to report a rape or assault to “keep the organization clean”. How many perverts do you know will actually sexually assault someone in the presence of another unless its a gang rape? As far as these groups kicking people out who can’t sympathize or empathize with their experiences? Hell, they are doing their best to keep their groups clean too. They learned this from the best. Don’t get mad because they are emulating the only thing they kow.

    • You’d be surprised. Only church I know of that keeps the 10 commandments and has the faith of Jesus Christ is the Seventh-Day Adventists. (Historic cousins to JW’s) They had this sexual abuse problem too but they changed their policies and publically repented back in the 90’s. No such sign of apology from the watchtower co as of yet so I’m sure Jehovah is not happy about it.

      P.S. Please don’t let man(Satan) fool you into thinking the your excused from 4th commandement
      Even god himself obeys his own law he rested on the seventh day of creation remember? It wasn’t because he was tired.

  4. I am so sorry Susan H. for your difficulties and thank you for your sentiments Kurt V. I will feel badly for my children if they finally do wake up. To think that 4+ years of our lives have been wasted because of this mind control cult is very sad. Something that troubled me was what happened with a couple who were very close friends of my late husband and me. He was a ministerial servant. Their only child, a son, had been married to a girl who committed adultery on him after the birth of their two daughters. They divorced. The son had never been baptised but was going to remarry a very nice ‘worldly’ girl. The parents were told by the chief of police, oh excuse me, I mean the coordinator of elders at the hall, that if they went to their son’s wedding that he would be stripped of all of his privledges. And yet they claim that they dont police their flock. Threats?, bribes?, oh yes….Mr Coordinator of elders, or “Little Big Man” as he was known, did use bribeing and coersion as a means of getting what he wanted. He was and is a liar and a thief. My ‘disfellowshipping’ was done without ONE judicial committee meeting. I never said I no longer wanted to be a JW. I had asked for a little time to work out my crisis of faith when I spoke with a nice elder who was not as judgemental and said nothing was going to be done as regards me at that time. That also was a lie. I guess lieing is WT’s greatest past time. Alexandra, I do so appreciate your website and all that you do. I am glad that you survived Irma 🙂 And, I am really looking forward to more of the annual meeting info. Blessings!

  5. I was mentioned in the 1971 yearbook under Cyprus so I know that bit is true. I didn’t start taking the emblems until 1985 but now I know why I was treated/avoided etc. I’m no longer a practising JW and as much as I love some of the basic teachings, these are the teachings of JC not the organisation many of which I can’t agree with for obvious reasons. My sister and her family are still JWs but of course they can’t associate with me anymore although my sister would love to and we keep in touch but not talk about spiritual things.

      • I never had the heavenly hope or any thoughts of going to heaven – the idea of the paradise earth appealed to me. One day I was driving to a friend and it was as if i was in a conversation with Jehovah and was asked if I would like to accept the invitation to be one of the anointed. A bit of a shock and my first response was why me? I didn’t have a great track record …..for some reason I mentioned this conversation to my friend who just sat and nodded at me saying she understood. When I asked her how saying anyone else would think I was nuts – she said she’d been taking the emblem for four years which shocked me! When I asked her what I should do next, she just told me not to worry J would show me and did. It took me a couple of weeks to accept because I was wondering what was involved and how to explain it to my family and friends but somehow I couldn’t refuse – of course everyone was upset with me for “rejecting” them but my desire to be part of the administration to bring about a better world was much stronger. Since then it’s been a big learning curve, full of ups and downs and I am no longer an active member of the congregation for other reasons which I am happy to explain in more detail. I am not sure what J’s purpose is for me now as I feel in limbo – my sister wants me to be go back into the congregation but I don’t feel I can do that because of what I have seen and learnt about the organisation so I’m relying totally on J to direct me. Meanwhile, I do what I can via my not-for-profit company helping others with various problems.

    • Susan, your experience is interesting and I would like to have more ideas from you. Do you think we are very close to the end of this world system? Do you have special feeling when you read the Bible? Do you feel close with other anointed Christians? What have they done making you have bad feeling? Please share more.

      • Hi Tan. Yes, I do think we are very close to the end of this world system but for some reason I have the idea in my head that the New System is running alongside the old. I believe the JWs are there to do the preaching work and nothing else (it’s obvious they aren’t much good at anything else ….) and the fact that it is coming to an end is no surprise to me. I feel as if I am just waiting but not sure what for. I also feel no part of the old system and it’s quite fascinating to see all my old witness friends look much older than me even though some are younger. Like many ex-JWs, I am spiritual but not religious and believe love is the greatest thing to show people, especially when they least deserve it which isn’t always easy to do. I’m sure that if I’m meant to meet other anointed ones who feel as I do, it will happen. I was quite close to other younger anointed Christians once I’d started taking the emblems and we had all experienced similar things. We felt at the time that the scriptures were mainly for us and that we were there to serve Jehovah and the congregation not think we were better than anyone else. My research over the years and recently brought me to this site and I can look back and see why people (especially the elders) acted as they did.

        The Bible says that the battle is for mens’ (and of course womens’) minds and so I think each one of us is being judged based on how we think about what is going on around us. I don’t have any special feelings when it comes to reading the Bible although scriptures often come to mind when I am trying to solve problems but that could be because they are in my memory. I did feel that I was living Jesus’s experiences when we were studying The Greatest Teacher book because it felt to me that everything I was experiencing at that time was so relevant even down to when I was rejected by my so called brothers and sisters. It was as if I had actually died although I was still here in the flesh and from that time onwards I couldn’t go back to being part of any congregation. Since then I have had various experiences and “aha” moments and I can’t claim to be “good” although I do my best not to hurt anyone.

        I was rejected after I had spent three nights not sleeping whilst defending my daughter in Court over a property matter with her ex-fiance (as a McKenzie friend) and whilst having a glass of red wine with my family and friends in the evening the day after the final day in court, I went suddenly felt as if I was transported back to the garden of Gethsemane – I could even feel the wind blow and heard the rustling of leaves. It only happened for a couple of minutes but I then had a weird feeling of not being part of this world any longer. Maybe this is what it meant to be transformed instantly, I don’t know.

        I was given “downers” so that I could sleep but the whole congregation was told to avoid me and I was no longer allowed out on the ministry. Other things happened which resulted in the breakdown of my marriage which I won’t go into for the moment. Even my family wouldn’t talk to me and they weren’t Witnesses! The psychiatrist I had to see at the time said that I had just needed to sleep and that nothing else was wrong but everyone thought I was schizophrenic and wouldn’t talk to me until I had treatment (which i didn’t need). He said my episode is what students go through after periods of extensive study. I was so shocked at how my family and witness friends had treated me which was why I couldn’t go back to the congregation on my own back and no-one bothered to see how I was – I was suffering purely from mental exhaustion (I’m not a solicitor so the case – having spent five solid months on it and three days in court had taken it’s toll). I was also physically exhausted as I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome too.

      • Hi Susan, in fact I cannot see any reason they should have avoided you like that. In my experience, probably the person-in-charge of the congregation might have expressed some negative feelings towards us. The rest of the herd followed. (Blindly) obedience is the current featured teaching of the organisation. But the problems are theirs. Anyway I would like to read more about the reactions to different things in life from you. Sad to say, I feel the the Watchtower recently has downplayed the important role of the anointed Christians, and that is obviously going against what the Bible teaches. Please keep in touch. Cheers.

    • It’s a false teaching that only 144k will have a heavenly hope.

      The Bible mentions in various places that the great crowd in its entirety have the heavenly hope. The city of New Jerusalem is not some symbolic reference to the paradise earth it is an actual physical place in heaven with physical dimensions. (Seriously why would god tease us with all these wonderful points of identification for a city that isn’t real)

      Go to Christ and follow the commandments (all 10, not just 9 like JW’s) and you will feel the difference in the Holy Spirit manifesting in you…. I’m an ex-JW and when I found Christ my goodness what a freedom it is.

  6. Their yearbook is full of lies. As just 1 example, on page 12, paragraphs 1-2, it says that 5,500 members of the worldwide Bethel Family returned to the field because the Governing Body was serious about advancing Kingdom Interests, and that this was done to redirect more funds to the field. If that were truely the case and if it were really about redirecting funds to the field, then why has their been a decrease in the number of Special Pioneers? They ‘redirected’ them to be regular pioneers because they won’t have to support them financially–those Bethelites who sacrificed so much in their personal life are now responsible to care for their own needs. The Governing Body wanted to make sure they have enough $ so that they could continue to chow down on the very finest Steak and Eggs dinner meals that money can buy; not to mention all the of the Child Molestation lawsuits–many of which we may not even know about. At last year’s annual meeting, Samuel Herd plainly said all branches were asked to reduce the number of Bethelites because there wasn’t enough $ coming in and that they only had so much $ to work with.

    • The WT on one hand decreases the Bethelites, but on the other hand keeps on inviting youngsters to become Bethelites. How strange! The only explanation is that the WT does not want to spend money on Bethelites who are advanced in age. Is this a loving way to treat your faithful brothers and sisters? One more case, a sister has been working as a cleaner at a Bethel in an Asian city for mamy years and becomes not as strong as many years ago. She was told by another Bethelite that her work was not satisfied by them. How strange! The operations of the Bethel is no different from other non-religious organisation at all.

    • Hi Tan. Thank you for your feedback. Am I wrong in coming to the conclusion that you also took the emblems?

      As for when people leave the organisation. I could never go back to celebrating birthdays or Christmas etc.although having read some of the reasons for why JWs don’t celebrate birthdays I am in two minds now about the reasoning behind this ban.

      It’s true that your thinking changes once you leave the organisation but I do think that if one truly believes the basic principles that Jesus taught, then you don’t need to be part of any organisation to follow these. I learnt far more about people when I went back into the world and have much more wisdom, I hope. I’ve also seen some wonderful examples of faith and love for our Creator from non-religious people.

      If being part of J’s government is really what I am, then I know that learning about and understand people is essential. It’s not just about being able to quote or teach the Bible inside out. It’s about perspective and if one has J’s holy spirit then one has the ability to see things from J’s viewpoint and treat people accordingly. I always loved my spiritual brothers and sisters even when they hurt me.

      If Jesus’s death was to free people from the Law which he summed up in just two commandments, then to burden his followers with numerous rules and regulations just doesn’t compute with me. Jesus didn’t judge people and neither do his anointed, so why anyone else in the congregation thinks they can is beyond me.

      I agree with you that the WTBTS has downplayed the role of the anointed not just recently but for many years. We should have been encouraged to be in touch with other, to share our thoughts and perspective which would have up built each other but it didn’t mean that we were perfect in any way or better than the great crowd. If anything, we were there to help them spiritually and in any other way we could as representatives of the Kingdom for in effect we are similar to MPs, to serve the people. Instead we have, as you say, been sidelined and that’s against what the Bible teaches.

      I have much more I would like to discuss with you. If you would like to do so by email, please contact me through the Help Desk on my website http://www.residentsassociations.co.uk/help-desk.html and I will let you have my private email, or we can continue our conversation here on this site.

  7. My take on that….”In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of doctrinal flip flops and pedophiles being protected by WTBTS and lies of increase along with merging of congregations along with subsequent closings and sales of Kingdom Halls. The members of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses may have past religious beliefs or mental or emotional problems that lead them to believe that they have been chosen by Christ Jesus to be his representatives here on the earth. That they believe they are qualified or free to control the minds and bodies of fellow humans indicates that they surely are mentally diseased.”

    By the way….I was physically at the Annual Meeting at Walkill, NY in October 2012. For 6 hours, I sat and listened to 6 members of the governing body TRY to explain “generation”. I was with my daughter at the time. I left that meeting more confused than I was before, but I had already started fading by that time anyway. That meeting was the deciding factor for me. While it was clear to see they themselves were very confused, it was a couple of years after that they came out with the overlapping generations. They are totally mindless.

    I was baptised in 1977….40 years ago! I was announced as removed from the congregation exactly 4 years ago. My beautiful daughter and my oldest son shun me. I want that cult to fall.

    Waiting excitedly for more of the crap they announced at the annual meeting 🙂

    • Im so sorry your daughter and son shun you. I too hope this cult falls and everyone can get their loved ones back.

    • The “overlapping generation” Armageddon prophecy was announced as “increased light” in the April 15, 2010 Watchtower (study edition page 10). Increased light is direct communication from Jehovah God to the Governing Body and is His way of “refining” His people, “Organizationally, doctrinally and morally” (Feb 15, 2006 Watchtower page 26). This means that unlike all previous Armageddon prophecies, this one CANNOT be wrong! The youngest person in the 1914 generation is now 103 years old so I think it’s fair to say that that generation has passed away. Two big questions now: How much longer does the “overlapping generation” have? And when it becomes obvious to all that that generation is passing away (with no sign of Armageddon) what will the G.B. do?

      • Simple math can tell you how long the “overlapping generation” can be used…
        If you use Psalms 90:10 and says a lifetime is 80, and say that someone who is born in 1913 is inside the first generation, and the overlapping is one year, then you get 1913+80+80-1 = 2072
        No rush yet 🙂

    • That was interesting about the generation explanation. When my grandfather passed away, I was about 13 years old. My grandfather died at the age of 100 years old. He was born in the year about when Guangxu became Emperor during the last part of the Qing Dynasty in China. During that time Brother Charles Russell was about 20 years old. So in the case like mine, Russell and I (were and are) belonging to the same generation according to the generation explanation. How strange!

  8. No yearn book now.. hmm, also a reduction in the Watchtowers being printed only a few each year.. hmm this also confirms for me why the gb wanted everyone to get rid of their old CD of wt libraries. The wt lawyers must be doing overtime something solid. The day is coming and they know it when other distractions cease for a moment when the worlds cameras and media will turn on wt for its child abuse and marital invasion policies apart from shunning and flip-flops’ on doctrine.

    • Yeah I heard about the magazines too, that will be interesting. Sounds like a big fire sale to me, I give this sick cult less than 10 years to bleed their members as dry as possible before they close shop for good. Then, party at my place LOL!

      • Alexandra, I’m hoping it’s more like 10 months. It cant come soon enough. I dont drink alcohol but I’ll bring champagne!

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