Personally, I am in full agreement with Leavingwt. I don't think there is an age limit to know the truth. What we're really discussing here is that being told the truth compels you to do things you otherwise wouldn't. These things have serious consequences on you. For example, I can imagine the pain a person feels when s/he realizes s/he's been duped, and duped others. I dont' think I would need to tell you guys about that. But, I surmise that the most serious effect of realizing that the Watchtower is a lie comes from the shunning the Watchtower imposes on you. Let us say it out loud: They keep you hostage. You have to toe the line forever unless you want to lose family and friends. All you have had is conditional love, and they threaten with taking even that away from you. This is blackmail, pure and simple. I find it impossible to reconcile the idea of being "right", and "in the Truth", and then exacting such a price on those who disagree with you, or want out, or whatever. "The truth shall set you free".
This is so much easier for me because I was never in, and there are certain things I just can't know.
I left the Catholic Church one day. I just decided they were wrong. All I did was that I stopped attending mass. Well. Do you have any idea of how many members of the Harlot would dare to tell my family that they have to shun me because I no longer believe? What would the rest of the world say about this? Do you think my family would find it very Christian not to even say hi just because I have books that openly contradict the Catholic Church? No one said a word against me when I went to the Kingdom Hall. This is how things have to be. Let's not forget it. No self-respecting religious group should resort to this kind of things to keep you in the fold.
But that's how it is in the Watchtower. Let's not miss the point: we're talking about what you stand to lose if you realize you've been duped. We're not talking whether the Watchtower makes any sense: we know it doesn't. We know it hurts people. What we're pondering is whether freedom of mind and spirit is worth more than never seeing your children again, for example. Many would say yes, it's worth it. Many of you thought just that way. Many others would leave if only they didn't have to pay the price.
How many would truly stay if shunning didn't exist? I would have no doubts at all that no one should mess with the beliefs of those who would believe it, warts and all, even if nothing happened to them if they left.
Let's see it the other way around. How moral is it to hide the truth from a person? At least in the Catholic Church (I don't know about other churches), there is what they call "sins of ommission". Let's go for the blood: the Good Samaritan didn't commit a sin of omission; the Levite and the other person did. They didn't act, and their not acting was the wrong thing to do.
What does the Watchtower think about this? Well, let me copy it for you, from the initial pages of Crisis of Conscience:
"When persons are in great danger from a source that they do not suspect, or are being misled by those they consider their friends, is it an unkindness to warn them? They may prefer not to believe the warning. They may even resent it. But, does that free one of the moral responsibility to give that warning". The Watchtower, January 15, 1974.
Of course the Watchtower meant this to mean that you should knock on doors, and maybe that you should feel guilty for not spreading their message. But, does that mean it's best not to receive that warning?
That said, I understand what happens here, guys. I am a worldly and yet I am in hiding of what I do in this forum. There is someone I always want to be able to reach out to. If I revealed my activities here, I would lose that chance. Yes, I am giving in to the blackmail. And yet, one of the many things that just popped into my mind is what would happen to this witness if she had, say, breast cancer, which is not an impossibility at her age. Would she take chemotherapy? No, because her red blood cells would go down, she would need a transfusion, and we know she wouldn't take it. Am I doing the right thing in giving in to the blackmail?
I can also remember the elderly witness who came to my door, preaching the time when she will live on Paradise Earth. I remember her hands, deformed with arthritis. Was it kind of me to tell her that, no, she will never heal, and no, she will not live on Paradise Earth? That she's been duped?
This is a very difficult thing. Yet I feel that somehow the truth should be told.
Well done, Leavingwt. Mother Leaving must be proud of you. You won no small victory.