Alan Rogerson in his book (as well as some other books) gives the 1925 Memorial attendance as 90,434, and 1926 as 89,278. However, the 1928 Memorial attendance was only a little over 19,000. With so many of the Anointed now gone, Joseph Rutherford soon turned the message away from the heavenly calling to the earthly hope.
Joseph Rutherford admitted that most of the Early Watchtower Bible Students left the Organization. We learn much from his own words. He said that those who had left the Society were in number larger than those who stayed. Notice this 1927 Watchtower:
During the past fifty years God has been causing his light to shine with increasing power upon his Word. He has not given his people new truths, but illuminated the truths already given. During that short period of time many have separated themselves from all organized systems of religion and have tried to walk in the way that Jesus and the apostles walked. For a time they made progress; and then many became tired and weary in well doing or thought more highly of themselves than they should think or became lawless, while others became offended. These turned away, so that today the larger percent of those who withdrew from so-called organized Christianity have turned aside and again gone back into the world. — The Watchtower December 1, 1927 pg 355 col 1 par 4
Notice how he says that “the larger percent” of Bible Students have gone back into the world. In the next article, he again admits that the Bible Students who left the organization are “comparatively large,” but this time, rather than saying they have gone into the world, he admits that they formed into many groups, all claiming to be God’s little flock.
Those who tremble at God’s Word are the ones who are diligent to keep and obey his commandments. They have no fight, to be sure, with the opposers, and mention is here made of it, not for the purpose of controversy, but that God’s people may be encouraged in seeing the fulfillment of prophecy, as it is manifested by the will of God they shall be encouraged. When it is clearly seen that the opposition to God’s work was long ago foretold by his prophet, and that the prophecy is now being fulfilled, such is a great encouragement to the faithful and is an evidence that the Lord is dealing with them and that they are in his favor. It is therefore clear that it is the will of God that attention of the faithful shall be called to these things at this time. The total number of those who have withdrawn from the Society and now oppose its work is comparatively large, when such are taken all together. These are now divided into many companies, all claiming to be followers of Christ and claiming to be God’s little flock, while at the same time they speak evil things concerning those who are faithful endeavoring to serve God. — The Watchtower November 15, 1930 pg 342 col 1 pars 1-2
Most JWs are unaware that the reason Rutherford proposed the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was to draw a clear line of distinction from those who had left the Society and those who remained. It is usually thought that it was strictly due to “new light”, but the resolution adopted at that Columbus Ohio convention in 1931 centers around the need for a new name due to the divisions.