I totally do not buy the "high cost of gas" as the excuse. If the high cost of gas is a concern, then they should cancel the TMS meeting & field service & offer to pay the pioneer's gas money. The book study meeting was so close to me, we walked to it rather than crowd the driveway. Certainly, they should not wait until January 1st. Prices are going over $4 a gallon this Summer.
I also don't buy the "family study night". Families were already supposed to be doing that, and were not. But, I think the Governing Body is worried about the young people leaving in droves. I have a shout out to the Governing Body. Cancelling the book study is not going to convince the young ones to stay. Nor, is rehashing stuff with their parents in a family bible study. Kids today are alot more savvy than they were years ago. For example, my first grader has pre-algebra homework, uses the computer, etc. I suspect that kids are able to see through the Watchtower flawed logic (such as the recent doll article) and failed prophecies. Kids today also see the Watchtower not endorsing college...still. The kid will get onto the Internet, either through Internet home schooling or at the public school. If they research their religion, they will realize that they are in a cult. Plus, if their family is like mine....the kid sees a loving father beating his faithful wife....making a great witness to all. So, axing one night a week is not a fix for the high attrition rate; nor is it going to stregthen families.
But, it is a fix for the pedophile & slip/fall lawsuits. Why wait until January 1st? Perphaps the Watchtower's insurance policy is running out at that time. Perhaps this will give their writing department enough time to make the changes.