When this website first launched in October 2011 its primary aim was to gather the thoughts and opinions of the “silent majority” – current and former Witnesses who are deprived of any say in how the Watchtower organization functions.
In just three months our first 2011 survey gathered 1,118 votes. Then, last year’s 2012 survey followed up with 1,488 votes.
With four full months still to run, the 2013 Global Survey has now sailed past the 1,000 votes mark with 1,028 votes! This means a record number of votes for this year is easily in sight.
If you haven’t yet taken part in this year’s survey, you have until December 31st to make your voice heard by clicking here. Voters are assured that all information is gathered in the strictest confidentiality, so you can feel free to express how you truly feel without any need to worry about privacy.
In celebration of passing the 1,000 mark, I have produced a tongue-in-cheek YouTube video aimed at getting more votes from Witnesses who accept every single teaching of the Governing Body…
It will be early 2014 before the results of this year’s survey are published, but I am happy to provide a few statistics so that you can see how the survey is going, and what patterns are emerging.
- 90 voters who were once disfellowshipped claim to have sought reinstatement purely to see their family again, and for no other reason
- 84% of active Witness voters have heard of a JW committing or attempting suicide
- 49% of active Witness voters would secretly accept blood if their lives depended on it
- 190 active Witnesses have so far taken part in the 2013 survey, of which 44 are serving elders and 22 are ministerial servants
- 375 inactive Witnesses have taken part of which 80 are former ministerial servants, and 35 were once elders
- 10 out of 13 of those claiming to be serving elders denied that elders are appointed by holy spirit
- 11 out of 13 of those claiming to be elders regretted decisions that they had reached on judicial committees
- 5 out of 8 professed anointed voters said the Governing Body should be making efforts to contact them
- 64% of inactive voters experience “pre-emptive shunning”
- 77% of inactive voters would leave the organization if shunning were abolished
- 332 disfellowshipped/disassociated ones have so far taken part, of which 61 are former ministerial servants and 23 are former elders
- 96% of disfellowshipped ones say they are happier since leaving
- 79% of disfellowshipped ones experience shunning by friends and family
- 33% of disfellowshipped ones are Christian, with 28% atheist and 25% agnostic
- 81% of voters who were never baptized have family who are JWs
- 77% of never-baptized voters say JWs are a cult
- 2% of never-baptized voters say they would like to be a JW
- 619 out of 1028 voters were from North America, with 220 from Europe and 47 from Oceania
- 347 out of 1028 voters claimed to have been baptized Witnesses for 10 to 25 years, with 188 claiming to have 25 to 40 years in the organization, and 151 claiming to have between 5 and 10 years
- Once again the most loathed Governing Body teaching is the stigmatization of higher education, with 888 out of 1028 voters objecting
- Out of 1028 voters, 30 clicked to say that they agree with all teachings and practices of the Governing Body WITHOUT also clicking to say they disagree with some teaching/practice
As you can see, once again the figures are pretty emphatically against the Governing Body’s teachings, which is part of the reason why I am trying (with this new video) to reach out to more “loyal” Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the moment the figures are so one-sided they are almost unbelievable! However, the important thing is that 1,028 people from various countries have made their voices heard, thus allowing us to gain more of an insight into the true feelings of the online “aware” JW community.
Changes in store for next year
I am constantly pondering ways to improve our global survey and turn it into a more definitive statement of the levels of dissent within the organization. Obviously the survey will always be limited by the fact that ordinary Witnesses are dissuaded from visiting websites such as this, making the results more one-sided than they should be.
Even so, JWsurvey.org is steadily growing in popularity with over 38,000 unique visits in the past month. It would be great if we could better harness this audience and use it to show the outside world just how people feel, both inside and outside the organization, about the course in which it is headed.
I am considering all options, but currently I am swaying in the direction of using a paid service next year to gather more detailed and accurate information. Services like SurveyMonkey offer greater flexibility than our present option, and inbuilt controls make it harder for errors to creep in (such as people voting twice).
Ultimately I would like JWsurvey to be used as a vehicle by colleges and universities to gather survey data on Jehovah’s Witnesses that is scientifically bulletproof and thus suitable for publishing. Until then, I see services such as the SurveyMonkey model as a step in the right direction.
Regardless of how we end up collecting our data in 2014, this website would be nothing without the hundreds of you who visit and take part in our surveys each year. On behalf of the whole JWsurvey team (myself, Admin Jeni and John Hoyle) I cannot thank you all enough for making sure the silent majority speaks out loud and clear. Please keep those votes rolling in!