The silent majority speaks: Results of the 2014 Global Survey now available
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2014-jwsurvey-results2014 was a big year for Jehovah’s Witnesses, and not just because it marked 100 years of the “short period of time” since the commencement of the ‘last days’ in 1914, with Armageddon nowhere in sight. (Rev 12:12)

Last year saw the organization take a further leap into the unknown by unveiling its JW Broadcasting initiative, bringing the “global brotherhood” up close and personal with its leaders for the first time.

The same year saw the announcement of a new donation arrangement whereby kingdom halls would surrender their financial autonomy and yield to a form of stealth tithing, with each congregation pledging to donate a fixed monthly amount. District overseers were also shown the door as Watchtower’s hierarchy was streamlined.

While all this was happening, an ever-growing number of current, former, and unbaptized Jehovah’s Witnesses – the silent majority – were doing something that was impossible before the age of the internet. They were quietly assembling online, and using a global survey they spoke with one voice of their dissatisfaction with Watchtower teachings and practices.

5,166 took part in the 2014 Global Survey – a huge increase compared with the more modest numbers from previous surveys (1,118 in 2011, 1,488 in 2012, and 1,751 in 2013).

Download the 2014 results PDF

Such an impressive sample has gifted us a revealing insight into the thoughts and feelings of the burgeoning ex-Jehovah’s Witness online community, which includes many active Witness “lurkers” who seek information and resources minus the Watchtower spin.

Here are just a few stats for you to ponder…

  • 229 out of 5,166 voters (4%) said they agree with all Watchtower teachings and practices (only 138 of these were active Witnesses)
  • 16 voters claimed to be active bethelites
  • 117 voters claimed to be serving elders
  • 1,599 disfellowshipped/disassociated persons took part in the survey, of which 42% claimed to still be religious
  • 94% of disfellowshipped/disassociated persons are happier since leaving
  • 1,603 out of 4,242 baptized voters (38%) claim to have been baptized at 18 or older
  • 1,687 inactive/faders voted, of which 63% claimed to experience preemptive shunning
  • 56% of inactive ones claimed to experience marital or family problems as a result of their decision
  • 771 voted who were never baptized, of which 64% had family members who are JWs and 67% consider Jehovah’s Witnesses to be a cult
  • 39% of elders expressed regret over a decision reached at a judicial committee
  • 78% of voters think that Jehovah’s Witnesses have a problem with child abuse
  • 419 voters claimed to be former-Witness victims of child abuse
  • 40% of active Witness voters said they would secretly or openly accept a blood transfusion
  • 237 voters said they would let their child die for want of a blood transfusion, only 167 of which were active Witnesses
  • 17% of active JWs who voted believe elders are appointed by holy spirit
  • 32% of elders who voted believe elders are appointed by holy spirit
  • 67% of voters do not believe Watchtower should enjoy charitable or tax exempt status
  • 84% of voters do not donate anything to Watchtower
  • 81% of voters have heard of a Jehovah’s Witness committing or attempting suicide
  • 33% of voters believe Watchtower should undergo reform, while a further 42% believe it should be dissolved entirely
  • 21% of Witness voters believe apostates are bitter and vindictive, as opposed to 69% who believe some may have legitimate concerns
  • 169 active JW voters consider themselves to be apostates
  • 52% of those who call themselves apostates say they love Jehovah’s Witnesses, while only 2% (58 individuals) say they hate all JWs
  • 53% of active JWs object to all forms of shunning, while 11% say they are shunning someone who is either disfellowshipped or inactive
  • Evolution as a false teaching was the least disliked Watchtower teaching, with only 62% voting against it
  • The second least-disliked Watchtower teaching was the rejection of Christmas as a pagan teaching, with only 63% voting against it
  • The most disliked Watchtower teaching was the prohibition on higher education (96%) followed closely by shunning and bedroom laws for married couples (both at 94%)

To help better digest this year’s figures, new JWsurvey team member Kyle Racki has kindly produced an infographic for some selected stats. If you would like to download a high resolution version of this infographic, you can do so here.

JWsurvey results infographic small

Obviously the above figures cannot be considered representative of ALL Jehovah’s Witnesses, since in order to make it as far as JWsurvey potential voters must first breach Watchtower’s strict rules regarding the internet and so-called apostate sites.

Even so, it is heartening to see ever-growing numbers of current, former and unbaptized Witnesses using their opportunity to declare their honest views about the organization and its practices. Forums and online communities are always helpful in this regard, but nowhere else is it currently possible to get such large quantities of data on the consensus among the exJW movement.

If you are wondering how you can play your part and help make this year’s survey a similar success, we would urge you to have your say in the 2015 Global Survey of Jehovah’s Witnesses if you haven’t already done so. At the time of writing (mid-September 2015), nearly 3,200 have already voted, but with little over three months remaining there is still a long way to go before we can beat last year’s total. This gives us plenty of time to share links to the survey as widely as possible among our friends and relatives, and urge them to take part.

Another means of promoting the survey is using the increasingly popular platform of YouTube. At the moment I am working on a special montage video along with more than 50 other ex-JWs from around the world. The video will convey a special message aimed at believing Witnesses as part of our “JWsurvey Day” celebrations on October 4th. If you are able to help us share and distribute the video on social media when the big day comes, this would be hugely appreciated.

Until then, I will leave you to chew on some remarkable survey results. And I especially want to thank you all for your overwhelming support of the JWsurvey project.

 

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127 Responses to The silent majority speaks: Results of the 2014 Global Survey now available

  1. Ted says:

    Markw1509,
    Mark check out “The Washington Post” report about the
    ARCs, inquiry. From the figures many pedo’s were allowed
    to remain in the congs, and repeatedly offend .

    • @JB Reezner . Thanks for the Apology about the Letter ‘U’ … DAMN Yanks have RUINED the ENGLISH Language??? England has Been Afflicted with MacDonalds, Burger King,& all those Lovely FATTY,SALTY,SUGARY High Cholesterol,Diabetic Inducing Foods!! UGHh .., England is Now FULL of OBESE,LUMPY & DUMPY People waiting to KEEL over with a heart attack .The 7 MIDGETS especially MARK SANDERSON Look SO Overweight!! In the Old Testament they used to STONE GLUTTONS to death & Greedy people will not inherit Gods Kingdom! I AM on TOPIC Here as I Would like to ‘SURVEY ‘the 7 MIDGETS of BROOKLYN for the Dietary Habits ! I Think CEDARS SURVEY is BRILLIANT & Llloyd is doing a Fantastic Job . That Last Sentence might just keep this comment in the Post! Really Glad that you Yanks have got an ENGLISH ‘ sense of Humour !!!!

      • J.B. Reezner says:

        Blaming us for fast-food, PB? That’s minor stuff. You should be blaming us for PRODUCING the very REASON for Lloyd’s survey! Namely, Russell, Rutherford, etc… Without US, you’d be living happily ever after, having adopted some nice little less-destructive belief system. I’m sorry. I feel partly responsible for your troubles.

        However, if your dear old King George III would’ve treated us just a little bit better 200-some-odd years ago, maybe we could’ve somehow stuck together and been happy enough to not need to invent some brain-sucking cult to make us THINK we were happy! (I’m sure my reasoning is rock-solid on that.) So, yeah, actually I blame YOU for the Org’s existence! Thereby necessitating Lloyd’s excellent survey.

        Meanwhile, Ted is wondering why you picked HIS comment to reply to, lol… Sorry Ted.

        • @PB Reezner. You are Right!.. Russell&Rutherford so much more Destructive than a BIG MAC!!! Damn … you surprise me … A YANK Who is REALLY REALLY GOOD at History & has a BRILLIANT Sense of English Humour!! It’s a Crying Shame the 7 SURVEYED Midgets haven’t a sense of Humour!!

        • William says:

          It’s not, actually. The colonists “revolt” was inevitable. There was too much money at stake for the American “forefathers” to grant it to the monarchists across the pond.

          • J.B. Reezner says:

            William, my jovial exchange with PB was greatly enhanced by the terse injection of your controversial opinion. However, I stand by my claim regarding PB, and I’m shocked that you disagree with my well-researched argumentation of it. I suppose we must agree to disagree, good sir.

          • J.B. Reezner says:

            William, my jovial exchange with PB was greatly enhanced by your terse injection of a controversial opinion. Well played, good sir!

        • Tara says:

          According to the Catholic church we are all heretics anyway thanks to Henry IIIV. I gave up being a Protestant to be a JW so I am twice apostate… When I totally fade out I will thrice apostate but according to ISIS all religions bar them are heritics so that four strikes for me…. we’re all doomed Capt. Mainwaring

          • J.B. Reezner says:

            Well, I said something nice about the Pope in an earlier comment. I hope that gets me in good. I’m just trying to cover all the bases. You know, Pascal’s Wager and what not. 🙂

          • @Tara . I LIKE YOUR STYLE!!’ I was a Protestant like yourself before I became a JW 35 years ago so an ‘APOSTATE’?!! Many times over depending on a Catholics Viewpoint!!
            @ William …. Hmmm Looks like I’ve got to go back to my History Classes!!!

  2. anonymous says:

    @Lloyd, I hope you do an article about Anthony Morris’ latest ramblings on jw broadcasting morning worship talk about obedience. I think there’s an awful lot to mock there.

    • J.B. Reezner says:

      I second that, anonymous. That’ll be the only way I get to see it. I can’t watch that stuff straight, with no Lloyd chaser. It burns too badly going down…

  3. Innocent Son says:

    @ LOL Perhaps if you took your ‘ Rose Tinted’ J W glasses off you might be able to make a valid comment instead of the driven you’ve posted. Take a good look at the Organisation you belong to and confirm with hand on heart that it belongs to God! Many of us on this site used to and now see through the tissue of lies we were fed. Anyway my friend you must have doubts, otherwise you wouldn’t be on here, so here’s to your awakening. Great job Lloyd keep it up.

  4. Ted says:

    DJ, & Pickled Brain,
    Good points about this striving for elder positions. More often than
    not the motive is prestige, not the desire to care for the flock, which
    potentially is a 24/7 job. Problems don’t just crop up at convenient
    times. And it’s the caring elders who get called on the most, this is
    something not always realised by the “Position” seekers.

    In the selection process of elders and MS there is an emphasis on
    certain things, to the neglect of more important qualities.
    After the COs visit one time, a brother asked me, “How come
    I didn’t pull elder this time? he said I’ve upped my F,S, report.

    Not his fault for thinking that way. That slip of paper with a special
    place for your name, ( you always work better when your work is
    to be checked,) is the barometer of your spirituality. It’s the first
    item on the agenda when considering a bro for M,S, or elder.

    You can be a caring person, spending your free time caring for the
    sick in body, the depressed and discouraged. You can tire yourself
    out and willingly so. But your not a spiritual person, and your
    definitely not elder material, Unless the time sheet has the right
    figures on it. Poor selection criteria results in poor selection.

    • @Ted . As Usual you are SPOT ON with your ANALYSIS of the inadequacies & illogical reasonings of the 7 LUNATIC MIDGETS in BROOKLYN !
      Our Elder Body included one who would DRINK 4 Glasses of Wine then a Rum finished with a Glass of Port on Social occasions & then get in his car & take sisters home!! He is NOW taking the Emblems in the Last 2 years. Another of our Elders would say if you were depressed to throw away your Anti- Depressants & think Positive!’ Another Elder was going to Strip Clubs & his wife told the Circuit Overseer But Nothing was done because of the 2 Witness Rule!! APPOINTED by HOLY SPIRIT???? Of Course they are!!!! Why because ANTHONY MORRIS TELLS ME SO & DEAR OLD GESTURING STEPHEN!!!

      • @JB….. Covering ALL ‘BASES’ … BASEBALL FAN?? I suppose??? WE CALL it ‘ROUNDERS ‘ played by Girls in ENGLAND!! Anyway I mustn’t get Sexist!!! APOSTASY ivy me is Enough to Cope with at the moment!!
        Perhaps we could ask Cedars to do a SURVEY what all our Former Religions were before we became JWs??

        • J.B. Reezner says:

          Yep, that’s a very commonly used expression here, PB, and comes from baseball. Possibly the most boring sport ever conceived by man. Tennis is the only real sport. (I specialize in offering massively unpopular opinions.)

          The previous religion question could really be an interesting statistic to determine with the survey. Like, are people who were raised JW’s more likely to see the flaws in it than converts from other religions? Probably not, I’d guess. But an interesting question. I was a JW before I was a JW. Yesss, I know that’s a boring answer…

          • J.B. Reezner says:

            I guess Q23 in the survey is pretty close to that. “Before being baptized as a Witness, how were you introduced to the religion?” (Born into it, or witnessed to.) It’s about a 70/30 split, respectively. But it would be interesting to see what the breakdown would be of the religions people came out of, and how many had no affiliation and/or were non-religious. Not a big deal. Just curious.

            The survey is an amazingly good idea and a great source of encouragement. No, I’m not just blowing sunshine up Lloyd’s… nose.

          • @PB . I thought I would use First Name terms as we are on same wavelength? ?? Anyway TENNIS!! Before I came into the ‘TRUTHhhhh’ ??? Tennis dominated my Life …. Gave it ALL up to PIONEER & SLAVE for the 7 PYGMIES …. Sort of Close Definition to PYRAMIDS than MIDGETS??? Big FAN of CONNERS & BORG !! My Friend bought a WILSON METAL RACKET just like Connors used & I bought a DONNAY just like Borg used!!! SAD Really … Couldn’t play like them ! I wonder if CEDARS could SURVEY this …who used to play tennis before they became a JW?? This is a VERY SLIM link to the Topic discussed!!

          • Average Joe says:

            @JBR “Covering all bases” is a term we use in the Midlands (UK).
            @PB Please be careful with your jabs at our American friends. Although I imagine they are tongue-in-cheek, other readers could find them offensive. My granddad always used to say we were separated by a common language but it can lead to some very comical situations. The only thing I don’t like about American JWs is them using the term “friends” instead of “brothers & sisters”. They are your spiritual brother & sister if you’re an active JW but not automatically your friend, especially if you don’t even know them. “Friend” is a very select term and I choose my friends wisely!

            @LLOYD. As an IT suggestion, have you ever thought of installing the Forum software made by the same WordPress gurus that your site is based upon? That way you can have a whole section (or sections) dedicated to off-topic chit-chat and provide a place for this community to flourish and get to know each other better, rather than just post comments in response to posts? Just a thought and it’s free software too.

          • Rosie says:

            In Ireland there were (probably still are) three types of JWs; Catholic JWs, Protestant JWs and Foreign JWs (non-native, especially those brought over from England to “Serve Where The Need Was Great”!).

        • ruthlee says:

          hey pb ! I was thinking likewise . A survey of our former apostate religions. I bet my family history would top the lot. i am a born in but my family history is laughable .We really do come from all nations and the pseudonym i use shuold give you the biggest clue! ruthlee.

  5. EverydayExplorer says:

    LOL, you have the right to ask questions, explore and analyse. Do it here in this safe forum, and — of course — elsewhere. Wishing you a positive and constructive journey.

  6. @JB Reezner& @TED @ ANONYMOUS @ @ EXCELSIOR! I HAVE Found a BIG FLAW in David SPLANE description of GENERATION! Please see my Explanation at Post by Cedars on this site on Lloyds comments on David SPLANE & Generation about JOSEPH & His Brothers !
    WOULD REALLY VALUE your ANALYSIS of what I have Written & SEE if I AM RIGHT in my REASONS???IF SO ; Could someone get CEDARS ATTENTION & maybe highlight it in a future VIDEO!

    • ScotWm says:

      RE: Joseph’s generation.

      Your concerns are valid. The Watchtower has tried to create yet another 120 year generation. I posted some observations under the Splane topic.

    • J.B. Reezner says:

      PB, I think you have a good argument there (if I understood it correctly). For me, the frustration comes from even NEEDING to explain to someone why the GB’s generation definition is completely insane. It’s like having to explain why the Earth is round. The resistance to simple logic by deluded people is maddening (and embarrassing, as I consider my own longtime guilt of the same mentality).

      Thank you for your deeper research into the subject, my friend.

      • @J.B. Thank you for your KIND WORDS Too! Sorry to everyone if my returning comments have been delayed. I have just returned from a Mid-Week meeting . People on this website are so much Nicer & MORE FRIENDLY than those at the Hall . TONIGHT we had Talk by Field Service Overseer about Last years Service Report for the Congregation! We All Have GOT To INCREASE our BIBLE STUDIES as they are LOW!!! ….. Hmmmm … I WONDER WHY….. I HAVE HAD A VISION!! …. I SEE the WRITING on the WALL…. MEANIE,MEANIE,TEENY,AUSTRALIAN ROYAL COMMISSION!!!

    • Grace says:

      PB,

      I can’t find the comment you made about Joseph & the generation. Can you explain it again? Cause I still don’t get it. Just pretend that I’m 5 or something cause it does my head in.

      • @Grace . Hi Lovely Lady …, THIS IS NOT a CHAT UP LINE….. Just APPRECIATION for ALL your EXCELLENT COMMENTS that I have Enjoyed!! & You are MODEST!!
        My comments are the Third Topic of CEDARS down from this one when DAVID SPLANE ATTEMPTS to Explain the OVERLAPPING GENERATION. & He uses Exodus 1v6 ,BUT Joseph & his 11 Brothers were Born over a 30 year period starting when Jacob had his first SON at 77 years of Age & his LAST SoN Benjamin Less than 30 years Later ,which is Roughly the Same As CHRISTs Explanation from 33 C.E (when he uttered Matthew 24v.34)to 70 C.E (Jerusalem Destroyed)which is 37 Years !!Therefore SPLANES Argument is UTTER RUBBISH !!!

        • Grace says:

          PB,

          I finally found the comments! I will have to read it over & over to get the gist of it all. They are really good at the bwb, baffle with bulls*t theology, aren’t they.

          • @Grace . Yes they Certainly Are!! But I think David SPLANE is Reckoning Ohhh What the HELL majority of JWs will say Even though I can’t understand it !… The F&D Slave are APPOINTED by Jesus so they must know what they’re Talking about??! BUT Before I came into the TRUTH at 23 at Vulnerable Time I didn’t do my Research properly… BUT I Had an EXCELLENT EDUCATION thanks to my Parents who were not JWs … At ‘A LEVELs ‘ I studied PURE MATHEMATICS (Loved Analysing Figures ) & 20th Century HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY… THIS TIME I am EXAMINING EVERYTHING the 7 POXY PYGMIES Spout on TV.JW.Org … ‘WON’T BE FOOLED AGAIN ‘ is my Favourite WHO Song!!

  7. Outlookingin says:

    Just a point about the change last year in which congregations sacrificed their financial autonomy, I read this in the Watchtower study article for this week: “A Kingdom Hall … cannot rightly be said to belong to any individual or congregation, whatever it’s legal title may indicate.”

    I thought about this as I fell asleep. I then woke up with a song in my head. It is to be sung to the tune of “To Whom Do We Belong” from the old songbook. It is also to be sung in the style of the literature cart song, only this time, it is the KH personified and singing the words!

    To whom do I belong
    It isn’t the local cong
    You may like to think that I am yours
    But think again as you walk through my doors

    You gave so generously
    You built me so lovingly
    You pay for all my needs
    And tend the garden weeds
    And this you do for free

    To whom do I belong
    I don’t think I need to say
    It isn’t you and that’s for sure
    But just keep giving more and more

    The seven men on high
    Can rest till the day they die
    With money galore
    They want even more
    It’s in their hands I lie!

    • @OutLookingin .WOW You are Talented !! Poetry & a Song ! The WORDS are SO TRUE!! I Think APOSTATES are TOO TALENTED for the ORGANISATION as they Just Want ROBOTS!!

    • J.B. Reezner says:

      Excellent, Outlookingin! “You pay for all my needs, And tend the garden weeds” … “With money galore, They want even more” …Fantastic.

      The next project for you, or any of the other talented lyricists here: “Tithes Without End—At Last!”

      • @J.B. I Think you need to ‘W’ (Work on in our Loving Theocratic MinistrySchool) on SPELLING!!! It’s ‘TIMES WITHOUT END at LAST’ Lovely Song ..,, NO!! HANG ON … I Think our GLORIOUS GB Would PREFER your VERSION as the CHILD ABUSE CASES are PILING UP!!! OHhh I FEEL A SONG COMING ON …. ‘TITHES WITHOUT END at LAST’ … I’ll just Get my GUITAR OUT!!
        How about instead of the X FACTOR what about the …..The ‘W’ FACTOR!!!for Watchtower. We could have PRINCE as Lead Singer& HANK MARVIN on Guitar & ANTHONY MORRIS on TRUMPET & STEPHEN LETT on DRUMS!!

        • J.B. Reezner says:

          PB, I think we’ve reached off-topic critical mass on this page (my fault, but I’m trying to do better), but thanks for your comment above. It gave me the laugh I needed today. 🙂

  8. JBob says:

    Something to think about regarding the way Watchtower logic flows off the pages.

    1. God is Love
    2. God will destroy the wicked but not his material creation
    3. Human life is the penultimate expression of God’s Love through creation

    Okay, why would a God of Love (who apparently is too kind for an eternity of Hell–fire variety, but okay with deep sleep) destroy life, yet not his material world which based on Watchtower logic is subordinate to humans?

    Just punkin’ thinkin’

  9. J.B. Reezner says:

    I would say my favorite parts of the survey are Lloyd’s letter to the GB at the beginning, and then all of the personal answers at the end, but that would make it sound like I didn’t care about the actual survey in the middle. That’s not true at all, but I have read that letter several times now, lol. The ‘thank you’ to the GB for JW TV is great, and the request for more microphone time for Tony Tightpants kills me.

    On a more serious note, the comments at the end in answer to the question of ‘what helped you awaken?’ are incredibly interesting.

    I haven’t gotten to the end yet, but one of the many comments that were very striking to me was this:

    ‘It was a panic-stricken, miserable life. I left not knowing they were not god’s people– only knowing that I’d rather live one day in peace of mind, than an eternity of insanity.’

    I’m glad that person found his/her way out the door and learned the real truth about the JW cult, as did many others in the survey. The INEVITABILITY of that happening more and more, and faster and faster is thrilling.

  10. Peter Jeuck says:

    The suicide question really got to me. I did some quick research and number crunching and the results are astounding. If this survey is by any means representative of the true situation the suicide problem with Jehovah’s Witnesses is a monumentally serious situation. The average American knows on average about 600 people. The suicide rate in North America is 11.1 in 100,000. This means that out of a group of 4,500 people (assuming that of the 4,500 no one’s set of acquaintances overlap) there should be roughly 300 people in that whole set of 2.7 million acquaintances who committed suicide. The survey suggests that out of that same sized set of 4,500 people who answered the question there were at least 3,645 suicides that were known. This is result is 12 times the statistical rate quoted for North America!!! This is awful! If the professional psychiatric community were aware of this I would think they’d want to not only look at this situation but find ways of halting quickly. Again this is not a scientific survey, but my own experience as having been raised a Bible Student, out of a group of maybe 60-100 peers I grew up with three committed suicide including my own brother. He took his life in 2001. He was tormented that he wasn’t worthy to live in God’s eyes and was certain he was going into “second death.” For modern JWs second death was a teaching of the Watchtower in its early days that was retained by Bible Students when the split with Watchtower occurred during the 12 year period following Russell’s death. I am not sure when that terminology might have faded within Jehovah’s Witnesses, but the idea of someone dying in Armaggedon carries the same idea…no hope what so ever. My brother’s mind was very mixed up and confused and there was nothing that or no one who could stop him from his eventual suicide. I still struggle with grief over him today 14 years later. This statistic is a terrible tragedy that must be reversed.

    • JB Reezner says:

      I’m very sorry to hear about your brother, Peter. When my friends’ disfellowshipped son committed suicide, I saw in them a level of emotional devastation I had never seen before. And sadly, suicide+df added a dimension of confusion to the situation for many who otherwise would’ve provided more comfort. I’m glad though, that more than a few JW’s in their inner circle dismissed any notion that his suicide would’ve precluded a resurrection for him (if Jehovah was the loving God we had been taught to believe in).

      It will be a wonderful day when we see a drastically reduced membership in this cult. Even better if the whole damn thing goes down.