Just wanted to reply briefly to PAbrooks:
I can appreciate what you are saying. Actually, my dad said basically the same thing when I finally told him I have no intentions of returning as an active JW; claiming for the most part that everything I expressed was simply a cry of "sour grapes". Most of the people who have responded to this posting have already stated the matter as it is; that the doubts and questions have always been there, it's only after being disfellowshipped that we are truly able to observe the WTS with absolute objectiveness. Such was the case with me. I had been openly discussing concerns since I was about 13. However, when you are not taught to think for yourself, (afterall isn't that what got Adam and Eve in trouble?) when you think of something that may vary from common thought, one automatically assumes the conflict is in THEIR head alone. So you bury it and try not to think about it too much. I was always able to be diplomatic enough with the elders though, that I could argue something without sounding like I was challenging anything. So I was able to have a good number of discussion with various elders without a thought of me being an "apostate." But now that I am df'd, I am able to consider critical information more openly. Afterall, what are they gonna do, disfellowship me? :-) It has been a year and a half now, and I am SO glad it happened. While the initial shock of the situation is one I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy, I got through it and am now able to see things in ways I had no idea I was capable of. I wouldn't call it a spiritual awakening -- Hollywood style with clouds parting and light coming from heaven with a choir of angels bursting into song, but I think it is definitley fair to say that I am being spiritually woken up.