The lesson is, these are all man-made organizations, and due to man's current predatory instincts, leaders of successful organizations must be willing to sacrifice individual people to support the organization icon. It is a brand. Brands must survive! They become collective entities.
That's why the Watchtower is less-concerned about KEEPING people (the dwindling affirmation of "old-timers" with their increasingly and potentially dangerous individual private ideas and lack of zeal are like stale blood. Excise it, but make it look like they excised themselves because of their own sins.
Vampires always need a fresh audience or they shrivel up and lose their youthful zeal, and ultimately many of their followers. SURVIVAL is an organization's goal, and it will stop at nothing, including gross deception, to keep it.
That's why the WT organization is not so concerned about KEEPING members who are potential liabilities, but in deceiving new ones into joining their exclusive club. More shoulder badges for the recruiter, and it makes his/her faith more believable the more they can get others to believe it. That's also how cutting edge economic and political organizations work. Keep the ball rolling at all costs, and roll over the straddlers and trouble-makers. It also explains why pioneers are more zealous and comprised of "true believers." The same happens in multi-level marketing organizations.
Nothing else matters to an organization at it's core leadership.
The leaders have already "sold their souls to the devil," in that they have opted for a new corporate ego to replace their own troubled egos. The organization's mindset is an entity of it's own (even legally!) ; and most all organizations have such collective "identities," roughly equivalent to a personality of it's own - determined largely by the unstable personalities of it's leaders.
As long as you restrict yourself to thinking and reading about JWs and not other more destructive groups like Scientology, and learning that they all have the same patterns, you will never be able to separate "organization" from "spirituality." One's education is thereby deficient, and it will delay your healing and moving on a lot longer. You are still trying to figure out why you are a victim. Yet you are only partially a victim, because you bought into their "Brooklyn Bridge" scheme without adequate investigation BEFOREHAND. We all WANTED to believe in the paradise earth and that all animals will eat straw and grain and that we will see mom and dad and all the other JWs there, perfect in body and mind.
Mainly it's because YOU and I bought into their lying scheme. It's hard to admit we may have had some personal responsibility in the matter. Crooks need willing victims.
This doesn't apply to all zealous religionists and political activists, however, and that's where discernment comes in. All it takes is one good leader who is well-liked to block the predatory pattern and focus on loving others and meeting their needs. But that often takes checks and balances by a Board of Directors to reign in any excess greed.
From experience I know that being a pastor can be one of the toughest jobs there is. There are MANY good ones out there - MANY good churches without the psychopath control freaks. Apparently you haven't looked around much, or you would have seen many. Southern Calif. has some good churches without all the control freaks... so do most all other places in the world. It is not wise to lump them all together.
Jeff, I would guess from your post that you have not attended many churches. I have... hundreds, over 30 years, from Adventist to being a regular TV guest with my own series on Trinity Broadcasting Network, to teaching 40 Christian pastors in Japan and other leaders of ex-JW groups in Australia, to passing out tracts in the small Catholic and Protestant churches in Baja California with a Costa Rican female friend as a translator.
[Excluding those born in who didn't have much choice in the matter] one needs to learn that men are often dog-eat-dog predators with a fantastic ability to pleasantly deceive others to achieve power and followers. Look at show biz, magicians, daredevils, Manson-type cult leaders, and political dictators. They are made up of those who have learned to manipulate the human mind. Yes, even advertisers. Their great advantage over lesser mammals is the ability to speak and understand abstract concepts and fantasy scenarios so as to explain life in such a way as to suck you into their magical universe. They are like vampires who require the blood of the living and the resulting affirmation of their new disciples to keep their dream (and mojou) up to par. So recruitment, even when used as as passive form of affirmation to one's beliefs (inevitably including much fantasy and nonsense), is the blood that nourishes the vampire's being.
Want first-hand experience? Join a multi-level marketing organization (I did for a year after leaving Bethel just for the experience - not the money) and you will see right through it if you are an educated former victim. Just set aside a few $thousand to stock up on overpriced product that you will not be able to sell much of. Then "eat it" in stride, and you have learned your lesson. It will cost you less than joining religious like Scientology which will soak you for far more $$.
You are victims in that the cost and consequences of joining is hidden from you.
But not all churches are like that. In fact, I would say most aren't. It depends on the leadership. They may not capitulate to the organization hype and focus on helping individuals. These are the true at heart. However, what they teach may not be accurate or palpable. I have learned over the years my favorite slogan, "Love others more and believe their ideas less."
Why? Because people have an innate nature to spend large amounts of time figuring out their place on earth and their future... they seek a closed system of thinking to end the internal cognitive dissonance of their REAL life experienced with their five senses, versus their "new supernatural" personality with its flawed ideological conclusions that are unverifiable, but provide a sort of "healing" in believing those ideas. need to evangelize to self-affirm the author of the religious fantasy.