"I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy. But, lest it should be supposed that I believe many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them." - Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason
Throughout it's 131 year history, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society have figuratively sliced and diced the membership into various classes and groups. For starters, there is the John class who represent the anointed remnant alive on earth since 1914. Then there is the Jonadab class, comprised of the great crowd; those members of Jehovah's Witnesses who hope to live forever on paradise earth. We have the Nethinim class, a small group of non-anointed members who are helpers to the Governing Body. There are those of the evil slave class who reject the teachings of the faithful and discreet slave class.
In recent years, and especially since the dawn of the Internet Age, a new class has arisen. These members are not exclusively limited to the John class or the great crowd. They were not born during a certain year. They are not part of any one generation. There is no specific number who make up this class. They cannot be defined according to demographic criteria. They are made up people from all walks of life, nationalities and professions. A few are circuit overseers. Some are elders and ministerial servants. Others are rank and file members. Then there are those who attend meetings and are not yet dedicated, baptized Witnesses. If you are reading this, there is a very good chance that you too are a member of this class.
An unusual aspect of this class is that its members are generally unaware of each other. They are part of a silent minority which has been growing for many years. However, all have one thing in common - they are aware that there is something terribly wrong with the organization, its teachings and its practices. Members of this class are afraid to speak out for fear of being ostracized or even disfellowshipped for apostasy, that is speaking against the faithful and discreet slave class, which is tantamount to speaking against God.
Prior to the Internet Age, members of this class had few choices. They could remain in the organization and keep serving Jehovah, waiting on him to set matters straight. They could cast their doubts aside and stay focused on the Kingdom hope or they could leave but the act of desertion usually brings with it lasting consequences. Some have chosen to be agents of change. Serving as elders, these men have tried to bring about reform either by teaching the congregation the real truths about the Bible or by communicating with Watchtower Headquarters in an effort to bring needed changes.
With the evolution of the Internet and its new and innovative ways that people use to communicate with each other, individuals of this class can come together and share ideas, opinions and discuss teachings using forums, chatrooms and email. No longer are the members of this class isolated, alone with their own thoughts and ideas. This has had a very real and damaging effect on the Society. It's inability to deal with the flood of embarassing information about its prophecies and failings has caused an exodus of people to leave the organizaton. Many are unable to leave due to the threat of being shunned by family and friends. They continue to attend meetings, give talks and hold whatever position they are assigned to, constantly aware and conscious of the fact that the organization they once held in high esteem is a fraud.
This class of people who are conscious of the lies and deception of the Watchtower is growing and the Watchtower knows it. Members of this class have penetrated every layer of the organization. Some act as secret agents who appear for all intents and purposes to be valid, practicing members of the faith, but who secretly divulge information about the shortcomings of the organization. Members of this class cannot be recognized by outward appearance. There is no secret handshake that identifies them. You may have sat next to a member of this class and not even realized it. They may have sat next to you and not realized that you also thought and felt as they did.
One interesting fact about this class is that its members did not purposely seek to join it. Through a combination of personal events and revelations, they were awakened spiritually to the lies and deceit of the organization. In effect, their eyes became opened. They sought to reassure themselves that they weren't going crazy or apostate. The Internet helped them to realize that they weren't alone, that there were others out there just like them who came to the same conclusions as they did.
We are witnessing the rise of the conscious class.