Just a synopsis of this aspect of my story. I hope others will join in and tell us how this modern marvel of communication affected your exit [or your investigation, or perhaps entrenching] from the organization.
We all have doubts at times. Mine were scattered over almost 5 decades, from the age of four when my mother accepted the religion. The Internet was certainly not NEW in 2003, but we, like most good Witnesses, exposed ourselves very little to the web. We had a chintzy dial-up service, and a computer with a slow processor. Mostly we used it for email as I remember. But, having accepted a job two years previously that required my missing most of the meetings [I considered it temporary at the time], my mind was beginning to get more curious and my doubts were itching. So I began to 'allow' myself to read personal accounts by current Jw's and former Jw's about their experiences/doubts. I did not join 'apostate' sites. I just searched for and read experiences that rang true to my own. This went on for a few months.
Then sometime mid-summer of that year, I happened across an ad and picture of Ray Franz' books. The link took me directly to his website and a brief description of them. I couldn't take my eyes off them. While my wife looked over my shoulder, I would say repeatedly, "Someday I am going to order those books, and read them." That was about like saying 'someday I will invite the Devil over for tea and crumpets' to a JW. But my wife seemed of similar mindset, which was settling to me. One day upon return from work, I once again found myself with the same scenario, looking at an ad for those books. Before I could say anything, my dear wife stated to me, "You don't have to THINK ABOUT it any longer. I have ordered them. I WANT to know what he has to say. You can read them or you can ignore them, whatever you want to do. I am reading them."
The books arrived at our home in November. Before the year ended we had both read them. I believe I may have read them twice. I would secret them out of the house, sometimes concealed under a newspaper for the short walk to my favorite uptown coffee shop. I would read them for hours. I had taken a black marker and covered up Ray's name in case a Jw ever showed up at the coffee house - which they did once and didn't even notice or mention the book - probably had no idea what they were looking at. Other times I would sit at home reading them with every blind and curtain pulled in case a Jw showed up at our house [we were a constant 'bathroom stop', as we lived in the center of our small town]. We devoured every word, kept saying to each other things like "Wow, did you know this.......?" "How on earth did the organization do THAT while preaching something else to us?"
After the date those books arrived, we never once set foot inside the Kingdom Hall. We were the focus of a couple efforts to 'shepherd' us back to the flock, but I must say, very weak and beggarly efforts at that. Three years later the elders forced me into a corner, threatened me with a JC over 'apostasy', and to 'kick me out' for leaving. LOL. I sent them a letter of disassociation.
Seven years, going on eight now. The healing has been difficult at times. But we are adjusted pretty well. I credit our mutual exit. And that would probably never have happened without the Internet.