1981 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Serving Jehovah, a God of Unity
“JEHOVAH our God is one Jehovah.” Thus the prophet Moses reminded his people Israel of that important fact in his farewell speech to them. (Deut. 6:4) From his further inspired words, as well as from the rest of the Scriptures, we learn that Jehovah God is also almighty, all-wise, perfect in justice and the personification of love, of unselfishness. Since “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving,” and Jehovah God is the “Giver of every good gift and every perfect present,” it follows that he must be a supremely “happy God.”—Acts 20:35; Jas. 1:17; 1 Tim. 1:11.
From God’s inspired Word we also learn that Jehovah has hundreds of millions of spirit creatures who delight to ‘carry out his word.’ (Ps. 103:20; Dan. 7:9, 10) These are organized to form a heavenly universal organization. Thus we read of angels, cherubs, seraphs and of an archangel. All of these serve God’s purposes and work in perfect harmony, for Jehovah is a God, ‘not of disorder’ and confusion but of unity and peace. (1 Cor. 14:33) Upon the creation of Adam and Eve, Jehovah’s organization included earthly creatures. In the Scriptures God’s organization of intelligent persons is likened to a woman or a wife of God at Isaiah 54:1, a city at Galatians 4:26 and a chariot at Ezekiel, chapter 1.
Not only is Jehovah a happy God, but lovingly he desires all of his intelligent creatures to be happy. However, they cannot enjoy true and lasting happiness unless they remain in touch and in harmony with their Maker who is the Source of life. (Ps. 36:9) And all of God’s intelligent creatures were happily unified until some 6,000 years ago when one of these became ambitious of being like his Maker, Jehovah God, and so rebelled. Thereby he made himself Satan, that is, opposer, and Devil, that is, slanderer, thus becoming the first apostate. (John 8:44; Rev. 12:9) Resorting to lies Satan influenced the first human pair to apostatize, to fall away from the pure worship of Jehovah God and join him in his rebellion. With that rebellion, unhappiness, confusion, sin and death came into the world.
Thus there came to be two organizations in the universe, standing for opposite principles and strongly opposed to each other. Concerning the enmity between these two God foretold, at the very time of the rebellion in the garden of Eden: “I shall put enmity between you [the Serpent] and the woman [God’s heavenly organization], and between your seed and her seed.”—Gen. 3:15.
TWO OPPOSING ORGANIZATIONS
Down through the corridors of time there have been comparatively few on earth who have loyally represented Jehovah and his organization and resisted Satan’s organization. Among these were Abel, Enoch, Noah, the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and a long line of faithful prophets as well as some of Israel’s kings, such as King David. But time and again the majority of that nation fell away from the pure worship of Jehovah and apostatized, taking the side of Satan. In fact, this was largely the situation when God sent Jesus Christ, his Son, to the earth.
Jesus Christ came to bear witness to the truth of God’s kingdom (as well as to give his life as a ransom for many) and he sent forth his followers to bear witness also. After his resurrection and shortly before his ascension into heaven he commissioned his followers ‘to make disciples of people of all nations, teaching them to do the things he had taught them to do.’—Matt. 4:17; 28:19, 20; Luke 9:1, 2; 10:1-9; John 18:37.
From Pentecost onward it was apparent upon whom Jehovah God had poured out his holy spirit to carry on this work, and some of these took the lead by divine providence. Among them were the apostles and older men of the Christian congregation in Jerusalem. While these were yet alive, they served to keep the Christian congregation loyal to the truth of God’s Word. But upon their death apostates arose and took over, even as Jesus and the apostle Paul had foretold and warned.—Matt. 13:24-30; Acts 20:29, 30.
By the year 325 these apostate Christians joined hands with the political rulers of the world. They became the dominant part of “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion. Over the many centuries there has been constant spiritual warfare between Babylon the Great and the small band of true Christians loyal to the pure worship of Jehovah God.—2 Thess. 2:3-12; Rev. 17:4, 5.
God’s Word foretold that in the last days there would be a restoration of pure worship, a harvesttime when there would be a collecting out of apostates, a separation between the “wheat” and the “weeds.” The first stages of this work began some 100 years ago. During this time faithful anointed Christians have served together as a continuing steward class.—Matt. 13:40, 41.
THE STEWARD CLASS ORGANIZED FOR ACTIVITY
Today the “remaining ones” of God’s anointed children on earth, who form the last of the 144,000 members of spiritual Israel, are often referred to as the Christian “remnant.” They are still heavily involved in spiritual warfare with Satan and his religious womanlike organization of Babylon the Great. (Rev. 12:1, 17; 18:2, 4) At this late date this remnant number less than ten thousand on the earth. They have been brought together from many parts of the earth and for the past century have been organized for Christian preaching activity. (Matt. 24:31) Collectively they form the “faithful steward” as mentioned at Luke 12:42-44 or the “faithful and discreet slave” as referred to at Matthew 24:45-47. Representing this global congregation of anointed ones in their unified activity is a supervisory group of anointed elders designated as the Governing Body. This Governing Body, at present numbering 16 members, resides at the Brooklyn Bethel headquarters of the legal religious corporation known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.—Heb. 13:7, 17.
REPORTING INTERNATIONAL STEWARDSHIP
Stewards, according to the Bible, are required to be found faithful. (1 Cor. 4:2) Therefore, a periodic reporting of God-entrusted stewardship as to Jehovah’s earthly interests is proper and beneficial.—1 Pet. 4:10; compare Luke 16:2 and Romans 14:4.
An annual report of their international stewardship hereby rendered by Jehovah’s Witnesses is open for scrutiny by all. (Isa. 43:10-12) It continues to provide evidence that Jehovah’s expanding organization in the four corners of the earth stands out as a distinct watchtower beacon of spiritual enlightenment amid a world of deepening darkness. (Isa. 60:1-3) In 205 lands Jehovah’s Witnesses form an international bulwark of righteousness, seeking first God’s kingdom and its interests. (Matt. 6:10, 33) By 1980 more than 2,250,000 of the “other sheep” have been added as associates to the small group of the remnant.—John 10:16.
All these Witnesses serve together as a unified worldwide association of brothers under the remarkable invisible leadership of Jesus Christ. (Matt. 23:10; 1 Pet. 5:9) Christ guides this expanding association by means of his composite steward here on earth. Such involves a progressive spiritual feeding program of current Biblical information. This enables all associated ones to grow spiritually strong during these closing days of a rebellious, defiled human society.—Luke 12:42.
Over the past 99 years Jehovah’s people serving with the Watch Tower Society have reported (generally annually) their preaching and teaching activity in connection with announcing the good news of God’s kingdom in the inhabited earth. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20) Their first annual statement was presented in the January 1882 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower magazine, and it covered the work they accomplished in the year of 1881. This 1981 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses will follow the general pattern, set in 1926, of presenting the annual report of the previous service year, which ended August 31, 1980, as well as of publishing reports from other lands and setting forth the daily Bible texts and comments for the calendar year of 1981.
CENTURY OF GROWING UNIFIED ACTION
With this Yearbook Jehovah’s Witnesses enter their 100th year involving reports of their worldwide witnessing. Like their first-century Christian predecessors they have come to fill the whole earth with their preaching of the “good news.” (Rom. 1:8; Col. 1:23) No one human today could have led an active life of preaching for so long, and certainly no individual steward or slave could be credited with the phenomenal work accomplished during the past hundred years. Nor is it reasonable that one imperfect man after another in succession would be ‘appointed over all of Christ’s belongings on earth’ to serve, as the Roman Catholic pope claims to be, as vicegerent of Christ on earth. (Luke 12:44) Rather, the record and statistics prove that the work has been accomplished by that collective group of anointed Christian men and women who form the steward organization under Christ’s direction. This group has moved steadily forward with increasing spiritual understanding and effective fruitfulness as worldwide witnesses.—Prov. 4:18; Matt. 24:45-47; Rev. 14:4, 6.
RESISTERS DO NOT PREVAIL
In spite of opposition from the world, particularly led by Christendom’s sectarian clergy, this nucleus of anointed Christians has endured as a separate unsectarian group distinguished by unity of action in rendering sacred service to the one true God. In recent decades hundreds of thousands of lovers of righteousness have gathered around this nucleus to share in sacred service as Jehovah’s Witnesses.—Zech. 8:23; Rev. 7:9.
From time to time, inside the one growing flock, rebellious ones, apostates, have arisen to try to mislead some, even as foretold, and as was true in apostolic times. (1 Tim. 4:1; Rom. 16:17, 18) Such apostates have been promptly disfellowshiped. They have been unable to resist the power of Jehovah’s spirit upon his gathered people in these last days. (Joel 2:28, 29) Nothing can thwart the forward movement of Jehovah’s people who are now on the world stage championing Jehovah’s rightful Kingdom sovereignty over all the earth. (Compare 1 Corinthians 4:9.) With Jehovah’s guiding spirit upon this one Christian organization Jehovah’s people have survived unitedly in action ever stronger down to this year of 1981. They have gladly submitted themselves individually under the earthly administration of this divinely approved channel and its legal religious corporate agencies.
DEVELOPMENT OF TRUE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATIONS
What began on a small scale in the 1870’s and 1880’s in the United States in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area as a few congregations of Christian Bible Students has spread in a unified way to congregations numbering many thousands in 205 countries today. This organizational development made provisions for the members of the congregations to meet weekly with audience participation for Bible study and spiritual upbuilding. It also encouraged the individuals to respond as active field preachers to share the good news of God’s kingdom with the public.
In this way each Christian man and woman became an illuminator reflecting the light of Biblical truths to others. (Phil. 2:15) Jehovah’s modern Christian witnesses thus became a unified organization serving under the direction of local elders and ministerial servants in 43,181 congregations. Unitedly they beam forth as the light of the world, shining as a citylike organization upon a mountaintop.—Matt. 5:14-16.
JEHOVAH, AN EARLY AND PROLIFIC SOWER
Foreknowing the coming of the “great tribulation,” Jehovah early arranged to send forth his anointed ones as a “watchman” class sounding out divine warnings even as did the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel of old. (Jer. 1:9, 10; 6:17; 21:11, 12; Ezek. 3:17; 33:7) Jehovah commenced this warning work more than a century ahead of time. Never has he taken divine action against unrighteous mankind until he has given them full warning! During the same period Jehovah progressively revealed many spiritual truths to his earthly anointed servants.—Amos 3:7; Luke 18:7, 8.
In nature seed is always produced abundantly. It is then scattered abroad extensively. The seed Jehovah causes to be scattered over the field of the world of mankind is that of the Word of God. (Mark 4:14-20) Such Bible messages were put in printed form and distributed far and wide by the watchman class and its associates. Additionally, they proclaimed Bible truth publicly, using such opportunities as were available to them. During that hundred years they have used syndicated sermons in thousands of newspapers, addressed church groups, held public meetings, used audio-video presentations such as the Photo-Drama of Creation, radio and television; they engaged in street distribution of tracts and magazines; they made house-to-house visitations, conducted home Bible studies and have employed many other avenues of public discussion.
From 1879 to 1917 the busy “class workers” and the full-time “colporteurs” (now called pioneers) distributed Biblical tracts, magazines, pamphlets, Bibles and bound books to the vast number of 428,972,226. This work first started in the United States but soon the “seeds” in printed form were scattered to Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia and on to the islands of the seas. This colossal work was done by earnest, humble men and women (assisted by their children also) as an evidence of their neighbor love and devotion as dedicated Christians.—Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:39.
Many of the public looked down on them. The clergy of Christendom ridiculed them from church pulpits and stirred up mobs against them. But in time their right to perform their apostolic type of ministry from house to house became recognized even by the Supreme Court of the United States. In the Murdock v. Pennsylvania case (1943) the Court said as to Jehovah’s Witnesses:
“We only hold that spreading one’s religious beliefs or preaching the Gospel through distribution of religious literature and through personal visitations is an age-old type of evangelism with as high a claim to constitutional protection as the more orthodox types.”
The clergy of Christendom were largely responsible for the imprisonment of eight of the headquarters staff of Jehovah’s people in 1918. Hundreds of other brothers were persecuted, imprisoned and hounded by mobs, which resulted in almost halting the public witness work in that year.—Rev. 11:7-10.
USE OF PRINTING FACILITIES
In 1919 the faithful steward (slave) class was released from its Babylonian bands of restraint to reopen its worldwide preaching and teaching service. (Rev. 11:11, 12) Prior to 1920 the Society published its literature on commercial presses at quite some expense. Appreciating that now a tremendous work lay ahead, the Society began to establish its own printeries, beginning first with one in the United States. In the course of time magazines have come to be printed on the Society’s presses in 28 other countries. And there are still 14 countries where outside presses are used to produce our literature. Following is the chart that covers the activities for the past hundred years. As can be noted, the actual distribution of publications comes to the staggering number of nearly 8 billion!
Distribution Chart of Worldwide Activity
Years Tracts & Pamphlets Magazines Bound Books Total
1917* 419,078,170 (Mags. included) 9,894,056 428,972,226
1918 102,775 13,140 256,609 372,524
1980 2,322,888,592 4,767,784,340 450,642,739 7,541,315,671
Totals 2,742,069,537 4,767,797,480 460,793,404 7,970,660,421
These figures are just for field distribution and do not include the millions of Yearbooks and release-editions of new books. Nor do they include the millions of copies of the Society’s magazines that go to subscribers.
CONVINCING EVIDENCE PRESENTED WORLDWIDE
The above chart presents evidence of the diligent, hard work performed by Jehovah’s people on earth. The vast distribution comes to nearly 2 pieces of Biblical literature for each of the 4.4 billion of mankind living today. It has produced a fruitage of over two million Christians who stand as living dedicated witnesses of Jehovah. Indeed as Jesus said: “Wisdom is proved righteous by its works.” (Matt. 11:19) More than that, this vast preaching work has been part of the setting forth of convincing evidence warning the wicked world of mankind of its imminent destruction. Again Jesus said of our day: “When that one arrives [Christ Jesus as king] he will give the world convincing evidence concerning sin and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment.”—John 16:8.
How was all this vast production and distribution of Bible literature financed over the past century? All by voluntary contributions and services from the zealous steward class and their growing number of associates. The very second issue of Zion’s Watch Tower magazine, August 1879, expressed confidence that it “has . . . JEHOVAH for its backer.” So from that day to this no money has been solicited. At their meetings no collection plates are passed as is done in the churches of Christendom. As funds have become available, the work of witnessing has expanded to provide additional printing and preaching facilities. Additionally, contributed money has been used to finance schools for the training of missionaries, pioneers and elders. No tuitions are charged.—1 Chron. 29:9.
Through voluntary contributions local congregations finance the building and maintenance of their Kingdom Halls, and Assembly Halls for circuit assemblies. Congregations and individuals also send contributions to the Society’s headquarters in Brooklyn and to the 97 other branch offices. Such funds cover the construction and maintaining of printing factories, operating of Bethel and missionary residences, office operations as well as shipping departments. During 1980, 5,039 volunteer workers staffed the 98 branch facilities. Bethel family workers all receive a nominal financial allowance in addition to their room and meals. In the worldwide field there are 137,861 full-time preachers, men and women, in 205 countries.
The Watch Tower Society’s report for the year 1881 indicated that $35,336.18 (U.S.) was spent to supplement the preaching work that had started by means of distributing the printed page. This amount had been contributed voluntarily, and this has been the Society’s general policy ever since with reference to obtaining operational funds.
Through the years financial reports have been rendered as to the amounts spent in giving help to the Society’s full-time ministers in the field including its traveling overseers, missionaries and special pioneers. For the year 1979 the cost in American dollars had risen to $20,136,626.07. For the year 1980 just concluded the money spent comes to $22,588,894.17. All these large yearly expenditures are made possible by the generous contributions from Jehovah’s people in all parts of the earth.—2 Cor. 9:10-14.
UNITY PROMOTED THROUGH BIBLE PUBLISHING
In addition to having become a vast house-to-house preaching organization that distributes an array of Bible study aids, the Watch Tower Society also has a long history as a Bible publishing Society. The following Bibles have been published under its corporate name:
1896 “Rotherham’s 12th Edition of the New Testament,” English
1901 “Holman Linear Bible” with the Society’s marginal notes
1902 Benjamin Wilson’s “The Emphatic Diaglott,” Greek-English
1907 “Bible Students Edition,” King James Version, with 500-page
1942 “King James Version,” with marginal references and
1944 “American Standard Version” of 1901. Features Jehovah’s name
1969 “The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek
1972 Byington’s “The Bible in Living English.” Features Jehovah’s
In addition the Society publishes its principal translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. From 1950 to 1960 this translation was released progressively in English in six volumes. Then in 1961 it was revised and released as one complete work. Finally a further revised edition in large print was published in 1971. This excellent modern fresh translation first released in English is now available, the whole or in part, in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. Incidentally, in 1973 the New World Translation was rated by a British Bible handbook compiler as one of 14 main English translations of the 20th century. The total number of Bibles printed by the Society in 1980 exceeded the 1979 production by 1,397,660 copies. This brings the grand total of Bibles printed in ten languages at the Brooklyn factory from 1926 to 1980 to 43,860,991.
BIBLE TEXT NOW IN COMPUTER MEMORY
During 1980 the complete New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures has been keyed into a computer memory with provisions to protect its integrity. So with its new computer installation the Watch Tower Society in Brooklyn (and some of the branches in due course) has developed a computerized publishing system. The typographic composition of the pages and the phototypesetting are controlled by special computer programs uniquely designed by the Society.
1980 PRODUCTION REPORT OF BROOKLYN AND FARM FACTORIES
Following is the production report of the Society’s printing plants, from September 1979 through August 1980, in Brooklyn and at Watchtower Farms, U.S.A.
Bound Books and Bibles 29,701,307
Kingdom News tracts 41,151,244
Cassette tapes 1,462,717
Picture slides 689,300
In September of 1980 the third high-speed, four-color, rotary web offset press began to be installed in the Brooklyn factory. A fourth one of similar design, which is to be primarily used for the printing of Bibles, began to be installed the next month. In Japan during the past year a four-color web offset press was installed and produced hundreds of thousands of books before the end of the service year. Also, a four-color web offset press is being erected in Canada and another in the British Isles.
1980 PROGRAM OF BUILDING EXPANSIONS
This last year was one of the greatest as to expanding our branch facilities to keep up with increased publishing demands. Following are countries where additional facilities were acquired, built or started to be built or modified: Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Curaçao, Denmark, France, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Netherlands, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States, Yugoslavia and Western Samoa, where a missionary home is being built.
In Brooklyn the 12-story renovated section of the new office building at 25 Columbia Heights, which is 100 feet by 100 feet in size, was being readied for occupancy. All 12 floors will be fully occupied by various offices and departments of the Society. During the past months the steelwork has been completed for the nine-floor extension building being added to the renovated administration building above mentioned. This new construction will be completed sometime in 1981.
MISSIONARY TRAINING PROGRAM ENLARGED
Due to the increased need for trained Gilead missionaries in the field, the number of students at the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead has been doubled. The 67th class was the first of these larger classes. Fifty-one students graduated Sunday, September 16, 1979, and were sent to 23 different countries. The 68th class of 45 students graduated March 9, 1980. They were sent to 11 lands.
PIONEER SERVICE SCHOOLS BRING ENCOURAGEMENT
Thousands of our full-time pioneer Witnesses continued to be trained in the pioneer service schools that were conducted in many countries. This two-week course is full of Biblical information and practical preaching suggestions. The following comments from one of these schools are representative of the many letters of appreciation that have been received by the Teaching Committee.
“From the time the Pioneer Service School was first announced, pioneers the world over, including us ourselves, have eagerly anticipated the time when we could attend. Then, last year, we were overjoyed at learning our patience was to be rewarded this summer. These past two weeks have been what we were waiting for. And it was well worth the wait.
“We all feel a closer bond with our loving God Jehovah, the One who made this school possible for us. Our affection for him, and his faithful slave, has grown immeasurably. An additional, unexpected pleasure that has come with this experience is the unifying effect the school has had on us as a body of pioneers. We’ve been drawn together as a family within a family, sharing each other’s problems, as well as our hopes, our joys, and our love.
“Expressions like ‘this has been the best two weeks of my life’ have been heard, and certainly help to express how we all feel about the marvelous provision from Jehovah we’ve just enjoyed. ‘Food at the proper time’ seems like such an understatement at this point. Two weeks of spiritual paradise describes it better.
“Our firm resolve to pioneer as long as the privilege is available has been very strongly reinforced in each one of us by the fine information, and the very stimulating way in which it was presented. We would also like to acknowledge the two very loving and skillful brothers who served us as instructors these two weeks. Their wealth of information and personal experience truly helped bring the information alive at a very personal level.”
SUCCESS OF THE 1980 “DIVINE LOVE” DISTRICT CONVENTIONS
While the spiritual festivals for 1980 have not been reported on by all the branches, the 102 “Divine Love” District Conventions for the continental United States showed an all-time peak attendance of 1,024,126. Those baptized at these conventions came to 9,617. The conventioners appreciated the directness and timeliness of all the counsel presented. Bible dramas emphasized loyalty and faithfulness to Jehovah and his organization. The Resolution enthusiastically adopted on Friday demonstrated that all were determined to sound the divine warning concerning the impending day of Jehovah’s vengeance. Appropriately the public talk on Sunday “Why Will a Loving God Exact Vengeance?” outlined the Scriptural reasons for such divine action. The following excerpt from one convention chairman’s report in the United States illustrates the appreciation shown for the features of the convention program.
“The ‘Divine Love’ Convention program was outstanding. It included matters from child raising, marriage, loyalty, apostasy and orderliness to sounding out the divine warning of the nearness of Jehovah’s ‘Day of Vengeance.’ A point repeated over the four days was: ‘We cannot be true Christians if we do not have love among ourselves.’ What a manifestation of Jehovah’s spirit to select that ‘Divine Love’ theme at this time!”
LITERATURE PUBLISHING STILL EFFECTIVE IN EVANGELIZING
The annual reports received from all the branches still bear out that publishing of literature is effective in evangelizing. Following is part of the 1980 report from Colombia, South America.
“In Bogotá a brother was in a store on business waiting to talk to the owner. He took advantage of the time to read part of the ‘Watchtower’ magazine he had brought along. The woman the store owner was talking to noticed the magazine the brother was reading and remarked that she too read ‘The Watchtower’ and liked it very much. A neighbor boy always brought her the magazines. She then proceeded to tell him how she helped distribute the [Society’s] book ‘Your Youth.’ Every time she goes for her doctor’s appointment she takes the book along and reads it out loud to other patients in the waiting room. Quite a number of persons have expressed interest in having a copy of the book; so she has obtained the books from a nephew, who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and takes the books to the people in their own homes. On one occasion she delivered eight books. Her conversation with the brother resulted in arrangements for a home Bible study. Although her husband is very much opposed she is making every effort to apply with love the things she is learning.”
1980 WORLDWIDE FIELD REPORT
The 1980 worldwide field service report is indeed an encouraging one! Unquestionably Jehovah’s spirit continues with his people in all parts of the earth. In 205 countries Jehovah’s people are happy to be sharing the hope of the good news which is being preached in all creation that is under heaven.—Col. 1:23.
Our brothers put forth a tremendous effort to carry out their divine commission to preach and teach wherever possible. (Matt. 28:19, 20) During the year the world empire of false religion, Babylon the Great, gave further evidence of her rapid decline and her spiritually impoverished condition. The seas of mankind grew more turbulent. (Isa. 57:20, 21) Worldwide immorality, infidelity, ungodliness and materialism, together with inflation and economic insecurity, continued unabated. Yet, through it all, Jehovah’s people were sustained by timely spiritual food, such as that in The Watchtower. They were strengthened to accomplish a marvelous work.
Note the chart (pages 24-31) that presents the 1980 field activities reported from 205 lands.
ACTIVITY IN THE WORLD FIELD
Jesus Christ said of himself: “The sower of the fine seed is the Son of man; the field is the world.” (Matt. 13:37, 38) The chart indicates how extensively the seeds of Bible truth were sown, and how great the harvest. The report reflects the healthy spirit of activity on the part of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the various lands. There was a 6-percent increase in the total hours that were spent preaching the “good news,” largely in sacred service from house to house. The total hours came to 339,427,608.
FIVE ALL-TIME-HIGH FIGURES
The 1980 report shows a definite upswing in the worldwide preaching work. This is manifested by five all-time-high figures in the report.
(1) We rejoice that the peak of publishers in the field is the highest ever, coming to 2,272,278, a 4-percent increase over last year’s peak. This is most encouraging, considering the number who were disfellowshiped and some who fell away due to succumbing to persecution, worldliness, materialism or apostasy. (Matt. 13:21, 22; 1 Tim. 4:1) At the same time, 113,779 persons were brought to the point of dedication and baptism, showing that good seed took root in fine soil.
(2) The second all-time-high figure is for the monthly average of publishers, 2,175,403, a 3.7-percent increase over last year. This clearly indicates that more of our brothers see the importance of sharing in sacred service every month. Also, it indicates that they see the importance of turning in reports of field service monthly. It also shows increased appreciation for the opportunities of placing their gifts of service upon Jehovah’s altar each month. As a result, they receive rich blessings from Jehovah.—Heb. 13:15; Matt. 5:23, 24; Prov. 10:22.
(3) On March 31, 1980, after sundown, the beginning of the Biblical day of Nisan 14, we had the greatest number ever attending the Memorial of Christ’s death, namely, 5,726,656. This was an 8-percent increase over the previous year’s record attendance. Thus 402,890 more were present. This is evidence that the brothers gave support to the arrangement to help hundreds of thousands of new ones to be present for this most important Christian event of the year. We cannot help but be impressed with the potential that exists for an increase in active proclaimers of the good news. Now we look forward to the Memorial of April 19, 1981.
(4) We rejoice also over the highest number of full-time workers ever in the field! The record monthly average comes to 137,861 pioneers in the various branches of full-time service such as regular and special pioneers, missionaries and traveling overseers. This is an 8-percent increase. All of these manifested the pioneer spirit by forging ahead in their preaching work, overcoming many obstacles and trials. Many of this number have enjoyed the training provided for them in the pioneer service schools. It is good to see that many young ones who completed their secular schooling, as well as new ones, joined the happy ranks of these forefront fighters for the faith. (1 Tim. 6:12) This does not include the large army of scores of thousands of auxiliary pioneers. All of these are to be commended for their works of love in helping thousands of Jehovah’s sheep to be gathered into the one flock. (John 10:16) Their enlarged gift of sacred service upon God’s altar is appreciated. It contributed greatly toward making up this fine world report.
(5) Congregations of Jehovah’s people may be likened to “cities,” as mentioned in the Bible. “My cities will yet overflow with goodness,” prophesied Zechariah, at chapter 1, verse 17. At Isaiah 61:4 it is foretold of our day that previously “devastated cities” will be rebuilt and made new. So among Jehovah’s Witnesses the number of Christian congregations being formed continues to grow, with blessing and success. During 1980, 581 new congregations were organized, bringing the total number to 43,181 congregations functioning, a new all-time record. This is still further evidence of spiritual prosperity. With the growth in the number of publishers, there must of necessity be a growth in the number of congregations. Congregations have appreciated the loving visits of circuit and district overseers and their wives. All were stimulated by the circuit assemblies of this past year.
OTHER FEATURES OF THE REPORT
A definite upturn is observed in the number of return visits made worldwide upon interested ones. The 142,104,285 return visits represents a 6-percent increase over last year’s report. Also as part of our discipling work there was a 9-percent increase in the number of Bible studies held monthly, namely, 1,371,584, which is the largest number of Bible studies conducted in the past five years. This gives a potential for many more new ones joining us in the field during the 1981 service year.
Literature, our Bible study aids, actually distributed in the worldwide field during 1980 comes to the following:
Bound Books and Bibles 22,837,471
Placements of our Bible literature surpassed 1979. There was an increase in our magazine placements of 2,726,790 copies. The magazine figures above do not include the millions of Watchtower and Awake! magazines sent out to subscribers.
As to the worldwide production of the Society’s magazines during 1980, there was a 2-percent increase. Following is the production report:
Languages 1980 1979
“Watchtower” printed 106 214,120,276 210,847,243
“Awake!” printed 34 187,470,504 184,052,203
SEVEN-YEAR PICTURE OF PROGRESS
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. Thus there is no doubt that Jehovah has been guiding his people unfailingly through Christ Jesus their leader. Observe the following graphic picture of the worldwide progress of Jehovah’s work on earth in these last days.
[Chart on pages 24-31]
1980 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLD WIDE
[Chart on page 32]
(For fully formatted text, see publication)
1974 75 76 77 78 79 80
4,550,457 Memorial Attendance 5,726,656*
10,723 Declining Memorial Partakers 9,564
1,880,713 Average Monthly Publishers 2,175,403*
1,351,404 Average Bible Studies 1,371,584
127,135 Average Full-Time Pioneers 137,861*
34,576 Number of Congregations 43,181*