Well said Gary1914. Welcome Billlyboy.
I am still considered a JW but one with questions and not attending the meetings since I am not able to question anything in the open. As I said to a sister (assigned to help me) I do not deny anyone their own thoughts but please do not label me as spiritually weak, or apostate should I dare to question what is brought out in Watchtower or Book Study publications.
That I should have the right to research and come to my own conclusions on certain issues, yet still love Jehovah and Jesus and many within the congregation. When asked if I would attend the meetings again, I had to explain as much as I do have love for ones in the congregation, how can I participate when it is all set up to answer from the articles and if I can't do that nor ask questions without being looked as as if I was questioning God or trying to cause dissention then what is the point. She agreed with me. The structure of the Society does not allow freedom of religion, which is the very opposite of how it started out.
Recently a primetime show had segment where a group of people knew the set up of a test but one person did not. They were shown a drawing on the screen and everyone answered the wrong direction to the drawing being shown. When it got to the last man, who did not know it was set up, he answered along with the group, althought it was so clearly a wrong answer.
When he was told of the test set up and why he answered with the group. He explained that he could see it was not the right answer but felt the pressure of the verbal answers (although wrong answers) of the group. Then the researcher explained that this is very common that persons will more often go along with the group rather than their own reasoning. I could not help but think of the Watchtower and Book Study arrangements and Bible Study arrangement. In the beginning when I started my own Bible Study and attending meetings, I raised the question why was this all so set up to answer from publications and was told of that fact there were "others" perhaps not as well read (intelligent) and I would be more humble to go along with the way the Society had set up the studies. What I now realize is that is really is a form of brain washing.
I so look forward to Blondie's reviews and do share these thoughts with ones who do approach me as they always seem surprised that I have read the Watchtower and I find it interesting to bring out tidbits that make them think. So THANK YOU Blondie for helping me read between the lines.
Billyboy keep your eyes and mind open and you may find peace and love that Jesus thought. Just read this recently in letters to the editor: "For by his love, faith is the certaintainy that there are spiritual realities; and we need to be rescued from ourselves. Therefore, forgive and be wise with faith and love towards those we meet, live and work with." I would say that is following Jesus' commandment to love your neighbor as yourself and to love God, who is the emobiment of Love.
Is it really important to claim only one source has that love and reality or is it better to show our love by actually loving one another in word and deed, rather than killing so many with our (their) words, such as in the 12/15/06 2nd study #17 and #19. I know some that read that article and did not even realize what they were really saying, it just goes in one ear and out the other.
Sorry for the long post.