I just thought I would flag this as something I have long despised about the magazines, since long before I made the decision to distance myself emotionally from the the organization. This isn't a big deal or anything, and ranks way down on my list of concerns about the Society, but I felt it was worth mentioning nonetheless.
As you will know, frequently in the magazines an experience will be quoted (portrayed as being real, although we are often left wondering whether it is), and in such an experience a name will be mentioned followed by an asterisk (*) which leads to a footnote which reads "Some names have been changed."
Out of interest, I went on my 2010 Watchtower Library and typed in "some names have been changed", and found that this footnote had been repeated no less than 69 times between 1994 and 2010 (39 times in the Watchtower, and 30 times in the Awake). Quite why the Society have only been using this particular phrase since 1994 is as inexplicable to me as why they thought it would be appropriate to use it in the first place.
Call me old fashioned, but either a person is happy for his or her name to be revealed in the magazines, or they aren't. If they aren't happy, wouldn't it be better for the magazine to say something like "one brother who wishes to remain anonymous had this experience..." or something like that. It may not flow as nicely as saying "Jimmy had this experience..." but at least it will be FACTUAL!!!
Here's a quote from the beginning of the 2011 Yearbook in which the Society declare their mandate towards the truthfulness of their material:
"In summary, the Writing Department insists on using only material that is accurate and truthful, even regarding seemingly insignificant details. As a result, "the faithful and discreet slave" can consistently supply spiritual food that brings honor to "the God of truth"."
The above quote, by the way, is copied and pasted from a thread that was posted by jwfacts regarding a more disturbing breach of this self-proclaimed benchmark of honesty.
My point is that surely, in the context of an "experience", the name of the main protagonist might constitute a "seemingly insignificant detail", however it isn't just omitted, it is replaced with a fictional name! The Society would say that this practice is okay because they have covered themselves with the "Some names have been changed" footnote, but surely everything contained in the magazines should aim to be factual from the outset? Can you imagine the chaos if bible writers had employed the same tactic? There would be more footnotes than actual verses!
Maybe this means it's okay for existing Witnesses to write candid letters of complaint to the Society without fear of reprisals, because they can substitute their real name for another name and pull the same trick with a footnote.
Maybe it's just me, let me know if it is and I will shut up about it once and for all....