I do agree with some of LizO's points. There are claims made about the WTBTS that I'm not sure there's enough evidence of. We do not know for sure the intentions of the people at the top unless they come out and say so. All we can do is look at the actions and draw conclusions. Some may feel they know more about it. Maybe they're right.
When I first left, it was hard for me to believe anybody at the top had bad intentions. It was CoC that pulled me out and Ray seemed to say that the people were generally very sincere and well meaning. Whether well meaning people do the right thing for the cause is not always the case however.
Furthermore, maybe I didn't want to feel even more duped. I wanted to feel like there was at least religion and belief behind it, not just some scam. That would mean to me that I was a dupe of a much less hurtful organization (religion like many people get duped by), not taken in by the likes of people on the level of multi-level-marketers and used car salesmen.
And my opinions on the guilt at the top waver. At one time, I was convinced they were in it for the money because they didn't offer their publications free online. If it's spiritual food from God, why not share it easily and for free? They surprised me later by putting a lot of things online. You can now find the Watchtowers and Awakes online along with many of their books.
Obviously they are not free from guilt. As Ray Franz points out, there have been some bad doctrines that have affected lives adversely and continue to cost lives. But whether they do things because they truly believe or because there are other things at play (saving their asses, covering their scandals, saving their money), I cannot say.
Though I do not know the minds of the people at the top, we can look at things and wonder. In my mind, they've got to know 607 and 1914 aren't right. Yet they still keep the doctrine going and keep stringing the 'last days' carrot. They even change doctrine to some weird overlapping generational thing. Really? To me, I've got to wonder if they don't know how ridiculous it is and whether they're just trying to make the best of a sinking ship, bailing it out with a spoon. But I don't know that for certain.
And whether intentional or not, the JWs are employing mind control. That could have been the way things evolved in response to various situations and may not be planned. Just like a human may behave a certain way without realizing why they are behaving that way. It is similar to methods used by other religions. It's the seclusion. It's the private language. It's the threat of punishment. These things work together and do control people and we see it time and time again in different organizations.
Some people here have worked at priviledged levels and do have facts, so keep an open mind. Weigh what is said and draw your own conclusions.
Most JWs I knew were sincere, not part of a conspiracy. Though they were all people. Some good, some bad, some savoring what little power they had, others using it wisely.