I was a pioneer. I used to think we were everywhere, telling everyone who would listen the 'good news'.
However, in the years since I left I discovered something shocking - no one calls! (and I am not known at my current location) Yes, I have had 2 tracts put through my letter box, but that's it, in all these years!
My point is, JWs were a major force and a major religion in my head and in the heads of other JWs but in fact now I see they are actually insignificant.
I remember reading how the org was now bigger than some European nations! Wow! But in fact there are more living in just one of the worlds major cities than all the JWs put together.
And are they persecuted? Yes, in one or 2 places of the world (but not alone in a way that could identify them as God's people - in those countries many different groups face problems) but generally, in almost all countries of the world there is no persecution at all! In fact, few know or care anything about JWs.
Is Armageddon a real event to the GB? Well, it's certainly hoped for by the rank and file, but as for the GB, at the same time they warn against education and tell you not to consider the future too much in this system, in their HQ they do the exact opposite! They employ university educated lawyers and expand their real estate holdings and other assets as if they are planning for many years ahead - yes, it's all a scam at the top. - That was the one thing I could not agree with Ray Franz on as much as I agreed with everything else - the GB is not made up of self deceived sincere believers, it is a scam and I think they are well aware of it.