The Jehovah's Witnesses have recently concluded their Annual Meeting. There are several upcoming changes to the cult, and while I do have something to say about the fact that they are again reducing their production of their magazines (they used to claim that increasing production was a sign that they are the true religion, so what does this current development mean for their claim?), I am going to focus on one thing, the fact that they are ceasing the production of their Yearbook. As someone who puts heavy emphasis on data, this loss of a significant data source is highly suspect.
See, the Yearbook has this feature where the organization's "growth" is tabulated and broken down into various different countries. One can also see how much of an increase in members occurred during the past year, among many other things. But my guess (as well as many others') is that these numbers aren't attractive anymore, so it is time to kill this channel, in order to keep those inside still pacified and drinking the Kool-Aid.
One surprising thing I noticed in recent years has something to do with the annual event the cult calls as "The Lord's Evening Meal". This is an event to commemorate the death of Jesus, and there is unleavened bread and wine passed around the hall. However, people typically don't eat it, because for the most part, their hope was to live in Paradise here on earth. Only those who have a hope of going to heaven eat those stuff. They count how many people eat. And for some reason, the numbers keep on going higher and higher. Now this is a problem, because the Jehovah's Witness cult has a doctrine stating that only 144,000 people will ascend to heaven, starting from Jesus' time. So it cannot be that more than 144,000 are currently here on earth eating those items. Needless to say, the math doesn't add up, and they would definitely want to hide this fact.
Another thing they would want to hide is the constantly decreasing numbers. Any accountant can figure out that the growth in developed countries pretty much have flatlined. The last Yearbook is full of countries with a negative percentage when it comes to increase; more people actually left than entered. This is not surprising given that the Jehovah's Witness cult has the lowest retention rate: 6 out of 10 people raised as Jehovah's Witnesses eventually leave the cult. So no, the numbers don't give a rosy picture, and I could imagine they would definitely want to hide this fact as well.
So where would all this information go? According to the Annual Meeting, this information is still accessible via their website. But we all know that information in an HTML can easily be changed. Heck, I sometimes edit my blog entries after they have been posted. So what is preventing them from simply changing the numbers to make things look better? We know that the cult has changed some printed material before, by reprinting them with altered content to align with current doctrine. Putting this all online will simply make it easier for them to obfuscate things more.
So yeah, this cult is dying a slow death. I sure hope I'll see the end of it in my lifetime, but I am not holding my breath for it.