I try to make sure I am not sensationalizing things. In other words, I see trends within the org, but are they really new trends, or am I just awake to them?
I agree with James (it happens). When I was first introduced to the org, I felt like I was living by principals for the most part. There was a lot leeway for personal decision. As time went on, more rules were added. I just went along, like a frog slowly being brought to boil. I became increasingly unhappy and unfillfilled with my spiritual life. The longer I was in, the more tired I felt. The treadmill thingy.
Anyway, one day I looked up, and had an epiphany, which I said outloud and was answered with disappointed frowns. I felt like I was doing nothing but following a bunch of rules. It didnt' feel free. It didn't bring happiness. I was operating on guilt and obliglation---with no reward.
Then I come here and try to observe the trend. I think there was a major shift when they created the koolaid edtion of the WT. Their language has become more aggressive and demanding. Members probably love this, as it is a special edition, and they are included in this exclusive study. They probably think it is an honor to get the information unedited. They are getting the straight 'truth'.
So often I remember when language would become aggressive, and sisters saying, "The brothers aren't playing around anymore. They aren't leaving any room for people not to take this seriously! The end must be close."
The WT could pretty much take them anywhere they like now. They have created the 'in' crowd, who have been acclimated to more and more control. The building sense of urgency and exclusivity makes them pliable.
I remember a time when most of the witnesses I knew were much kinder to nonwitnesses. They watched how they spoke when referring to 'worldly' people They at least tried to create a pretense of love and nonjudgement. Those days are gone. It is us and them, and the wall is growing thicker.
Martyrs are good for the cause. If they can die, so can you. We will celebrate you and you will be rewarded.