As one old timer that did escape - a year ago (a 1935' brat) yes indeed the atmosphere and feeling in the congregations has been changing and yes - they are getting more and more apathetic - more discouraged - more Zombie like - losing the eagerness for the field service - even to the point of downplaying the house to house and now doing bus stop to bus stop or parking lots, parks and malls (because people no longer answer the doors at home). And neither do people have an interest in discussing religion like I remember from the early 60's - so even the populace has itself changed - putting less faith in there being a loving caring God in charge of things -
My circle of old-timer friends (Alzheimer friends - LOL) discussed these observations constantly - all of them were dismayed with what they saw - the deterioration. I just happened to be the first of my little group to take the move out thanks to exposing myself to so-called "Apostate" literature - in time they will also. In fact I had a visit Saturday eve from one (in spite of the fact I am considered "apostate") and he wanted to know what the last year had been like for me - couldn't believe it has actually been good and even commented over and over at how good I was looking - I finally replied "Look I have a mirror buddy - I can see that I am indeed a prune face these days" and he replied "no I know that - LOL - but you seem so much more happy and there is an inner peace that radiates from you now and you just look more healthy"
He is still mesmerized by the 1914 teaching and refuses to give that up so he's not breaking YET but I see chinks beginning.......he intended only to visit for a half hour but stayed for five hours and when he goes back and tells the others I didn't drop dead like Ananias and Sapphira - and yes I still have Bibles all over the place and still study the good Book diligently and haven't lost my love for God - well who knows might happen. It just takes a few penquins to get the march out started
Sociologically I believe the WTS has made some major mistakes in recent years - one not having a leader to identify with - just a committee of men - no magnetism exhibited by a group of men and no one person to point the finger at either or blame - of course I realize this should have been more like the days of the early apostles but for some reason it hasn't come across that way at all - lack of Holy Spirit behind them? Or is the reason the early disciples were transparent - they wrote material without having to go through a censoring board? How many of us know the individual thoughts and leanings of members of the GB but we do know the leanings of Peter, John, Paul, James, etc. There was leadership in the early days of the apostles but somehow now it just doesn't feel like there IS leadership even though changes are happening.
And then another sociological mistake I think was the abandoning of the Book Study Group - the small cells of believers that became more intimately bound together. That was one area of great strength and it was hard to believe they eliminated that. That is where the cohesion and support came for individuals. Of course I left soon after so don't actually know how that has worked out. I do know the home bible study idea has taken off with only a few in the local area - most are just relieved to have one less meeting to attend and that is the end of it.
Even disfellowshipping is not ardently supported - I notice as time progresses more and more of the local congregation have begun to greet me in public and even to visit with me so in my case at least the shunning thing has not been as terrible as expected. Wish that were the case of some of the others of you who have gone through so much.