I have been reading some interesting information on Terror Management Theory at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terror_management_theory . This explains how the terror of death leads to a belief in an afterlife and also affects how we live. There is an "irresolvable paradox" created from the desire to preserve life and the realization of that impossibility because life is finite. The culture we are part of assists in dealing with this by coming up with explanations on immortality.
The following comment struck me as counter-intuitive, yet when I applied it to my JW upbringing rings true.
"Research has shown that mortality salient fear associated with highly-hedonically relevant attitudes results in message rejection (Shehryar & Hunt, 2005). Individuals who highly enjoyed drinking rejected messages that linked drunk driving to death but accepted messages that tied drunk driving to arrest or social ostracism."
People are more receptive and affected by the fear of social ostracism than of fear of death. I know that I remained a JW out of fear of disfellowshipping. I had a fear of death at Armageddon, yet it was somehow irrelevant in my choosing to leave.
Did you continue to associate as a JW out of fear of death or ostracism?