The thing about people giving themselves over to an oganization with such a poor track record. I think one of the problems is that for new ones coming in, the past is a blur and has no bearing on their lives. The WT intentionaly blurs that history to compound the problem.. I know that when I taught (now retired), that if I gave examples that occured before the time of my 21 year old students, my examples were as ancient as the Civil War to them and my vivid memories were beside the point. To make it worse for new JWs, I think, the older ones have a memory distortion of what happened. I think this occurs for two reasons, the Society encourages it through clever explainations, and the person does it unconsciously, on their own to resolve cognitive dissonance and to ease the mental pain. Thus, everyone stays relatively content.
I have tryed, over the years, to see things the way they are and to try to remember them as accurately as possible, not always successfully I might add. However, when you have distinct memories of the '70's, not only the quotes before and after '75, but the reaction of real people, then I have to conclude that it was a big deal. I can't prove it to some who claims otherwise, but I agree with those who say they experienced suffering.
What I can say next is more objective, regarding the subject of education. I had a sister and a cousin who were both valedictorians in high school. Neither went on to college. Of about 100 kids in the city where I lived, I was the only one who went to college, and I had to talk my mother into it. (There was one exception, a person who did not become a JW until he was 15. None who were in a long time went on.) One day I told three friends of mine that I was going to college. They told me that Argmageddon would be here before I graduated. All three of these are grandparents today.
Yes, I think the words of the WT had a strong impact on the majority of members, way back when.