I studied them conscientiously. I remember reading the Truth book - not the one you're thinking about, but The Truth Shall Set You Free - and coming to the realization that while I believed what it said, I did not know the Bible well enough to support any of it. I started looking up all the scriptures and pawing through back issues of The Watchtower. There was no Index or CD then; you had to find the little index at the end of each year's volume and hope it let you to something.
Back then almost all the books back to some volumes of Studies in the Scriptures could be had over the literature counter. I got what I could and scrounged for the rest. I took notes. I filled notebooks with questions and quotations and thoughts. I still have some of these. Pitiful. I thought I was learning the Bible. I did learn the Bible, more in spite of the publications than because of them. I still believe the Bible, and I still read the publications though not with the unquestioning acceptance I had as a young man way back when.
Some things upset me. I remember sitting in a Kingdom Hall waiting for our turn to rehearse a convention part. I wandered down to their "library" and found a copy of Millions Now Living will Never Die. It was the first time I'd read it. I found the 1925 prediction in it. It shook me. That same year I read the Vindication books. Rutherford made a mea culpa statement in one of those volumes. It made me feel better. It's how I coped with the foolishness. Then, damn it! Fred Franz wrote Life Everlasting in the Freedom of the Sons of God. I was angry. He lived through the 1925 nonsense, knew it well. Here he was foisting on us the same idiot approach to the Bible that even Rutherford found discredited.
It took me another two decades to finally give up on Watchtowerism. Even then it was less a doctrinal issue than it was the overweening pride found among Watchtower writers who felt free to regulate the lives of believers. Unfounded statements on medical issues, divorce, and some other issues caused real hurt to brothers and sisters I knew. If a congregational elder had made false predictions, had forced his will on the brothers in place of sound Biblical judgment, had been dictatorial and saw himself as God’s voice for the last days, he would have been removed from his position and perhaps disfellowshipped. Explain to my why Franz, et. al. were immune?
As I look back, though I was very active for decades (Pioneer, Congregation Servant, Elder, Convention Administration, serving where the need is/was greater) I was on a slow and agonizing road out starting with that flash of insight back when I read the "original truth book". I resented the slavish and unquestioned devotion to Watchtower publications some had. God gave us a mind to use best we can, and, according to Paul, his voice to us in the last days is Christ's, not that of some deluded scrawny peanut-eater from Brooklyn.