[Please forgive my math in this post. It is very inexact and used mainly as examples.]
As many of you should know, I have a rather large axe to grind with regards to Jehovah's Witnesses. Okay, to be fair it is smaller than many of your axes, but I say that as a background for my next couple of thoughts. I was reading the thread on why elders ask so many personal questions regarding private details of peoples sex lives, and many people came forward with terrible stories of how they were mistreated. The question I've been wondering is how "normal" are the people who come forward?
In an organization with seven million members, if 1 member in 1000 were mistreated that way, and of those 1 in 10 left the Truth™, then that would leave around 700 people with similar stories, and it wouldn't be unfair to guess that a dozen or so would end up on this site or one like it. I'm not going to lose sight of the fact that every single one of those instances was a terrible tragedy, but the question that bothers me is how do I know that the stories I hear on this site and other places reflect the true situation in the Watchtower Organization?
Another item I see often damning the Watchtower Society is the large number of known child molestation cases. The number I keep seeing thrown around is 27,000. That is obviously a terrible number. That is at least 27,000 lives ruined or forever blackened. I also hear that the average molester has 10 victims, which means this number of 27,000 molesters could be as much as 270,000 victims! At the same time, however, according to the statistics I've read (I forget what the exact proportion and source... I've been sitting on this question for a couple of weeks now), there should be around 360,000 child molestation victims in the Organization, which would suggest it is possible that the Jehovah's Witnesses actually have FEWER child molesters/victims than should normally be found in an organization of such size. (That's a REALLY depressing thought. ) [As far as the handling of situations is concerned, see above paragraph]
So I present a very simple question (though I would like to hear responses also the points I brought up): How do I figure out what is true of the JWs as a whole? Is it possible?
By the way, this is completely separate from any doctrinal issues, such as disfellowshipping, the stance on blood, and rampant homophobia that I am sure exist in the organization because of their very own literature.