Realizing evolution had to be true.
So what caused you to have doubts in the first place?
Also realizing that if the apocalypse actually happened (due to climate change, overpopulation, resource depletion, etc.), loyalty to the WTS provided about as much advantage as a fart in the wind.
My daughter being born. For 5 seconds there was no sound from her tiny body. Then suddenly a cry. I sighed in relief that she was breathing and therefore alive. In those 5 seconds i'd have done anything to make her live and keep living. That's when it hit me, i'd gladly allow her to have a blood transfusion if that's what it took. What would it cost me? Losing out on eternal life? Fine. I'd gladly lose out on living forever to have just one day with my little girl.
From then on i started noticing things. 80% of my congregation not being happy but going along to the meetings because it's less trouble for you if you do. Why am i getting up early every weekend to go out on the ministry when i dont really want to? Surely Jehovah wouldn't accept that sacrifice. Then being told not to learn ancient Hebrew or Greek and not to research outside the WT. Then read Crises Of Conscience so how could i go back after all that evidence?
I was once questioned by the elders about an "event". I was astonished that their main concern was "the image of Jehovah" to the community. They cared not one F*** about the people involved...all Brothers and Sisters.
It smacked of cultism. At the time, I was more surprised than anything. Dumbfounded. It was my first time ever to be questioned by the elders, and it opened my eyes a tiny bit. It took a few years for the doubts to fully surface after the events, but it opened my eyes just enough.
About 5 or 6 years later (around 2005), I searched for Jehovah's Witnesses for the 1st time ever on Google, found this website, and the rest is history.
There were a bunch of things I always didn't agree with: no beards, what music you should listen to.. basically any rule that existed that was not in the Bible. Then in my 20s I became more interested in history and science saw for myself that the Bible does not support science (like the org says it does). How can you believe in dinosaurs based on bones uncovered by paleontologists but refuse to believe human remains found by archaeologists that are much older than Adam and Eve? By then I was becoming an atheist and ready to start figuring out how I should leave.
Around this time, Canada had a zone meeting that my congregation was invited to and Tony Morris was the guest speaker. It was the first talk I had ever seen a Governing Body member give. It served to open my eyes fully that JWs were a cult. I can't remember anything specifically he said, but he basically implied that no one was going to make it through Armageddon unless you were spending all of your waking hours in field service. Truly putting God first. I couldn't believe everyone around me didn't realize he was implying that no one in this auditorium was going to make it through Armageddon. This is a Governing Body member who supposedly is inspired by God and you are supposed to take what they say as seriously as anything in the bible. I realized at that moment that I had to get out.
I ended up still attending until shortly after the new bibles came out. At this point I was a full-blown apostate still attending the meetings and putting on a good show. I was in charge of the literature counter and we had run out of bibles. There were rumours about this on the exjw forums possibly meaning that a new bible was coming out so I started "jokingly" saying it to people who wanted a new bible that they're all back ordered because a new one is coming out. Of course, no one believed me. How can there possibly be a need for a new bible? A year later, at the assembly hall watching the live-streamed annual meeting, I was the most smug person in the room.
It had been a few years since I'd done my fade, still believing I left the "truth" and Armageddon was coming any day now. Late one night I turned the TV on and there was a 30-minute show put on by another religion. The person was discussing topics and scriptures with a JW. Think of it as a Theocratic Ministry Show in reverse. The person was making such a logical argument that for the first time I questioned whether "the truth" was really the truth. Fast forward a few years to the internet and I was fully awake.
Also learning that - statistically - world conditions were actually improving rather than getting worse, and that it was easy to prove it...
...simply by asking, "when would you rather live... in the Present Day, or the Old West... and why?"
I think the seeds of my doubt were planted not too long after I started college. (no doubt a detail that would be used to further scare current JWs away from pursuing such an education.) I took public speaking in which we had to write two speeches, for my first speech I decided I would write about the persecution faced by Jehovah's Witnesses, however, we were supposed to vary our sources so I tried going outside the WT to find accounts of this persecution. Discovering the fact that JWs didn't have things quite as bad in Nazi Germany as I had been led to believe, and that Rutherford actually wrote letters to Hitler saying that they shared common interests...
Well, those things shook me, so I looked a little further into Rutherford and discovered the more despotic and hypocritical parts of his personality that my WT education had failed to mention. I suppose fear kept me from digging much deeper, for I was treading dangerously close to "apostate" sites and didn't want to be "infected" by their way of thinking. So I quickly finished my speech using the bare minimum of sources and halted any further research, meanwhile, I did my best to rationalize the troubling details I had discovered. Those things laid dormant in my mind for awhile, because not too long after my first semester at college I met a JW girl through Instagram.
What followed was a largely clandestine, long-distance relationship, which, suffice to say, got messy by the end. I won't go into gory detail but not longer after that relationship ended I was disfellowshipped, done in my own guilty conscience that led me to report myself, though I think part of me just didn't want it to bite me in the butt 5-10 years down the line, better to get out in front of it. I did my best to bear my "discipline" with strength and integrity, but my forced solitude gave me time to think and research... and that eventually led me here.
I never did like the constant downer on education.
I never did like the constant downer on women.
When I learned of the abuse of my adult offspring that occurred when they were little I started (thanks internet) to do some investigating. Thanks to all here as well.
The ARC revealed to me the chicanery of the org.
In 1975 while going door to door, an ex priest told me that religion was a scam, that they had found the fossilized remains of prehistoric man :0)