The Decline of Jehovah’s Witnesses – Their Pandemic Continues

Statistics do not lie, deceive and mislead. People however do –  including the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Written by Lester Somrah - March 4, 2023

“A report that is good makes the bones fat”; “pleasant sayings are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and a healing to the bones”, are all familiar and favorite biblical quotes that Jehovah’s Witnesses use as a prelude to many “upbuilding” reports that portray their religion in a good and positive light.

Each year the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses produce a Service Year Report that indicates on the surface that their religion is thriving – “like cold water on a tired soul is a good report from a distant land.” However below the surface, things are not so hunky-dory in Jehovah’s spiritual paradise; and to make matters worse, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is fully aware of this fact.

Many Jehovah’s Witnesses are so preoccupied with various forms of their religious activities, also known as the “Lord’s work”, that they are either too exhausted or don’t have the time or both, to detect the pandemic in their own religion. Each year, many exhausted and busy Jehovah’s Witnesses look at Service Year Report and are deceived and misled by their Governing Body that their religion is flourishing – like “a report that is good makes the bones fat.” See February 9, 2023 Announcement as an example.

I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who was deceived and was too exhausted and tired to analyze the statistics presented in the Annual Service Year report. The very few JWs who actually did a statistical analysis and detected the pandemic were either shut down from voicing their findings, as such were branded as “apostate thinking”, “if its not from the Governing Body or in a publication/letter, I don’t wanna see it or hear it”; “if it’s not upbuilding or positive news, you should not be sharing that stuff with no one”; and many other statements that degrade, discredit and discourage any statistical analysis of the Service Year Report.

Some former Jehovah’s Witnesses are tempted to make additional assumptions to determine if Jehovah’s Witnesses are declining in numbers. The truth is that it’s difficult to make such assumptions as the Service Year Reports only provide statistics on active Jehovah’s Witnesses. Statistics on those who exit (died, inactive, disfellowshipped and disassociated) the religion remain known by Watchtower officials in New York and are not published in the public domain. Only during the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and wars (Ukraine-Russia war is a recent example), did they publish the number of their active members who died.

The unfortunate reality is that as long as the number of new publishers/recruits exceeds those leaving there will always be a net increase in Jehovah’s Witnesses each service year. The number of Jehovah’s Witnesses who “fade”, become inactive, disassociate and are expelled (disfellowshipped) are presently way too small to cause any impact on the net increase of Jehovah’s Witnesses each year.

It is certainly comforting that the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses knows and sees all things, which includes a much more detailed statistical analysis that paints a very grim picture for their religion and which will never be published in any of their media.

My analysis is based solely on the statistics from the Service Year Reports published by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, with no assumptions made. This article is an update from my previous article on this subject and includes the most recent 2022 Service Year Report. 

Nothing has changed to indicate an upward turn in the rolling averages. The most important rolling average, the new publishers, continue to nose-dive for the past 12 years, clearly evident that Jehovah’s Witnesses are losing their ability to recruit new persons as publishers.

The graphs presented below uses a 3-year rolling average instead of a 5 years average, as presented in my previous article. The former gives a smaller numerical average that can be understood and clearly highlights the Service Year where the decrease occurs. The table below highlights this.


Service Year 

Highest Rolling Average (3 Year)

New Publishers

September 2010 to August 2011



September 2013 to August 2014


Bible Studies

September 2009 to August 2010


Memorial Attendance

September 2010 to August 2011


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This pandemic of Jehovah's Witnesses started since September 2010 and shows no indications of ever easing up. Who would their Governing Body blame this time around:

This scapegoat list can go on and on. However one thing is certain - Jehovah's Witnesses and the Governing Body got themselves to blame for the decline in their religion. They brought their own pandemic on themselves, infecting their religion with toxic, harmful beliefs and practices too many to list here. 

"Jehovah's ever moving chariot" is certainly either sleeping, broken or dead!!

Lester Somrah

Lester Somrah

Lester Somrah writes about the beliefs and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses on his social media platforms and was baptized as a member in 1998.

Read more from Lester