Welcome to JWN. Keep your eyes and mind open as you are studying.
This is a good illustration I’ve heard: If you were buying a car and were browsing at different car lots, and a car salesman at a certain lot says, “Don’t look at any car-related website or literature except for what I provide you. Especially don’t look at anything critical of this dealership”—would not red flags go up immediately?
You are getting lots of positive attention and it feels nice. This is called ‘love bombing’, a practice found in many similar groups. This was one huge factor that got Steven Hassan into the Moonies. I would encourage you to read his book, Combating Cult Mind Control. The doctrines they are presenting to you during the Bible studies are “outsider teachings” and gradually you will be introduced to the “insider teachings”, such as the Faithful Slave, No Blood Transfusions, the shunning of family who leave or are kicked out. Everything they say will be spun so as to be palatable. Not to say they aren’t doing this with the best of intentions.
Pay attention to the Proclaimer’s book. It is as close as the organization will come to candor, even though they are not fully candid, and things are spun. Look in the index and read about Beth Sarim, the Pyramids, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, that up until the 30’s, they believed that Christ’s invisible presence started in 1874, until that got changed to 1914.
Pay attention to 1914, and the Gentile Times calculation that appears in the appendix of the Bible teach book. Keep in mind it starts in 607 BC, when they say Jerusalem was destroyed. But both the Bible and history point to 587 BC.
Pay attention to the upcoming Watchtower study in the July 15 Study edition, about the Faithful Slave. For instance, on page 20, it says, “The Faithful Slave is the channel through which Jesus is feeding his true followers at this time of the end. It is vital that we recognize the Faithful Slave. Our spiritual health and our relationship with God depend on this channel." Who is that Faithful Slave according to this magazine? Basically, the Governing Body: 8 men in Brooklyn.
Do you believe your relationship with God depends on 8 men in Brooklyn? If you get baptized by them, you will have to. And if you ever question this, the organization, or any of its teachings, you will be taken in the backroom and have three elders interrogate you. If they judge you as “apostate”, you will then be shunned by all JWs.
Pay attention to how the ‘Bible study’ is done. You are not studying the Bible, but a Watchtower publication. You might look a verse or two up to support the paragraph, but notice, how often is the context of that verse considered? Is that passage really supporting the point? Learn about exegesis versus eisegesis. Always ask yourself when they are reading a verse, “Is the interpretation coming from the text and the surrounding passage? Or is their preset interpretation guiding the understanding of the verse? Is the verse really saying what they says it says?” If they have to explain to you what the text really means, rather than what it plainly says, a red flag should go up.
Feel free to PM me. In fact, I might send you a PM. Be on the lookout for the envelop in the upper right hand corner.