In an effort to soften my discussions with a Jw who used to be close to me, I have developed a metaphor - one that does not mention religion at all. Of course we both know to what it refers - but it is my clear belief that Jw's can't discuss reality straight up. So here it is:
A man is convinced early in his life that he should run, and that the best running can be achieved when he runs for, and associates with, only The Running Corp. So, at the tender age of 4, he begins to associate as a Junior runner. Running, and it's attendant training, becomes his life. He thinks about only running. He runs every chance he gets. He can't wait until the day he can be accepted as a Senior Runner. That time comes when he turns 17. After that he seeks to follow all the advise given by The Running Corp. He attends 5 training sessions a week. On weekends he runs. He cuts off all his friends, except fellow Senior Runners. He can't be distracted by non-runners if he wants to be the best possible runner. He runs in marathons for a few years. He even becomes a member of the Running Supervisors, so that he can teach others to run more successfully. Time goes by. Years at first. Then decades. He keeps dedicated to The Running Corp. Any changes in the way the Corp tells him to run must be to his best interest, so he complies. He eats, drinks, and breaths running, especially believing that The Running Corp will make him live much longer than others, and a better life than others. He wouldn't even consider running on his own. And where could one find a better group of runners to run with? Over time he sees many runners drop out. He is surprised when he is told they are evil for doing so - he has assumed they were good people when he knew them, but he follows the bylaws and shuns these drop-out runners. He is sure The Running Corp would never lead him astray, so he obeys without question. Then one day, quite by accident, he comes across a book in the library entitled "Why I ran from The Running Corp". He can't help himself but to pick it up and to take a look. He reads about corruption, lies, a cooking of the books, and that The Running Corp is actually slipping steroids into the vitamin supplements that all the Senior Runners take daily. He slams the book down in anger. "This can't be so! I refuse to believe it! " But over time, he begins to think that he should investigate the matter. After all, if The Running Corp is telling the truth, they will be completely vindicated. They have no reason to fear an honest investigation. He conducts his investigation very carefully, and over a long period of time, checking each detail for accuracy. He looks at legal records, corporate history, medical documents. He consults those who left The Running Corp, he speaks to accountants, doctors, lawyers. After a long and tedious investigation, he sadly concludes that The Running Corp never was what it claimed to be, lied to cover that over time and again. The Corp had been in cahoots with suppliers of steroids, had intentionally hidden it's former policies, and had even joined forces secretly with it's declared enemy, The Gluttony Foundation, and had never revealed such to it's members. Additionally, the man discovers that The Running Corp had even altered the book "Running, and Life", the Bible of the Corp, in order to convince others that only they, The Running Corp, had the best and singularly correct way to run. What was the man to do? He gathered up all his evidence, and began by writing a detailed letter to the Governing Board of The Running Corp, asking pointed questions, and expecting that they could overturn his discoveries. The only reply received, was not even sent to the man. It was sent to the local council of Senior Runners, and they were given stern warning to find out if the man was evil for his daring to investigate The Running Corp. If he was, he should be expelled from The Running Corp, for he was an apostate to the Corp. All the man's lifelong running friends were warned to stay clear of him, for he was 'borderline apostate' to The Running Corp. The man attempted to contact only his closest friends with what he found, to warn them that they were using steroids, and that The Running Corp was not what it seemed. None of them listened to him. The man began to realize that his lifelong attachment to The Running Corp was detrimental both physically and emotionally. No other running group would ever look attractive to him now. He had been drilled for his whole life about the dangers of other running groups, how they lied, were in cahoots with steroid suppliers, had cooked the books, lied to the membership, and had even secretly joined forces with The Gluttony Foundation. Now he had found the same with The Running Corp - what was the difference in them - was there no singular 'best way' to Run with success? The man had more questions than answers - and the questions were more bothersome than the ones he had already answered. Now, at the age of 50, the man was all alone. He had dedicated himself to something that could be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to be falsehood, even dangerous. So he had to leave. But his friends would not listen. So, having cast all Non-Running Corp friends aside years before, he was completely alone. He was banished for his finding the truth about The Running Corp. Further, he could never run again, for during all those years of taking steroids, his health had been compromised. He could never get back the years he had spent. He could not begin anew, for too many years had passed by. He could never return, for he had found that The Running Corp was not what it had claimed. It was too late to find hobbies and interests that could be well developed. The time was just too short now. His lifelong goal was just a shambles now, and his friends were blaming him, calling him names like Apostate, Evil Slave, Liar. He was the Devil to them now. He had become criminal in their eyes, for he had committed the sin of honest investigation. The man only wanted to save his friends, but they did not want saved. They wanted to believe that he was their enemy, when in reality, the enemy was a refusal to look at the facts. It was far easier for them to just believe he was the bad guy. Their livers would never fail - cancer was not an issue for them - they were members of The Running Corp, and would forever serve the Running Board. The man was just dead to them now for his daring willingness to make such claims - it couldn't be true! It just couldn't be true! Then one crisp October morning, his 'friends' took him outside the city gates and stoned him. "Another enemy of truth is gone now. Long live The Running Corp." they chanted as they headed to another training session and enhanced vitamins. Tomorrow they would run.