Hmmm A lot of good points here, Logansrun, but stay tuned. One of the reasons I joined the Jehovahs Witnesses organization was because I thought I had found the TRUTH. Im a lover of the truth. When I found I didnt have it after all and subsequently my world crushing down upon me, I because a skeptic. I took a course in Logic in college in order to get to the fundamental question of what is truth. So, I can see why one should not accept outright statements as true about anything without checking the validity of the facts (that is called deductive reasoning). But thats a personal responsibility (caveat emptor). I saw quite a bit of debating on the subject of how the Organization is portrayed right here on this newsgroup on another thread. There was one difference though, most people spoke about individuals being good and/or bad in the Organization. To me, thats a great distinction. I contributed for the argument that there is a great deal of genuinely good people in the Jehovahs Witnesses organization.
I havent been on this newsgroup for long and Ive only joined nearly 20 years after I left the Organization. And when you say:
It's not like the GB gathers together on Wednsday mornings and says, It's not like the GB gathers together on Wedn[e]sday mornings and says, "Let's see...how can we make people miserable and lie to them?",
I completely agree with you. But the fact that they are not purposeful or duplicitous in their decisions and edicts for the flock does not make them any less responsible for all the hurt and consequences that ensue. Even if they didnt cause any hurt, solely on principle, its very difficult to cast an organization that manipulates history and morality as doing some good. Their deeds negate any good that they may have done. And like Francois, I cant think of anything good that they (as an organization) have done in any community. I can only think of things they have done in order to perpetuate themselves and their doctrines. That does not deny the members capacity for having humane feelings, but Gizmo is right: Im sure Hitler loved and was kind to some people too. So are some All-American individuals who dote on their children and grandchildren and yet go out and lynch another person because he or she happens to be black. Our laws allow people to be put to death for that. But, those are examples of individuals, and as in the case of Hitler, it does not condemn an entire country (Germany or the U.S.) as all bad. A good parallel would more like a corporation that knowingly is responsible for harming citizens because of a product they make. We punish the corporation and the individuals responsible for such things. Alas, their deeds have not yet caught up with the Watchtower Society, at least on the obvious things like the pedophile issue.
I dont see a way to make them pay on the moral side of things (not the policies that actually violate the law). As a condition for coming back into the fold after I was disfellowshiped, I told the elders that I had written to the Organization asking them to explain to me why hundreds of people (Witnesses) had died in Malawi for not being able to carry a political party membership in violation of Jehovahs law and why brothers in Mexico were able to obtain with an overt bribe a card that certified that they had served in the military without violating their conscience. The Societys answer to my letter was to send the elders over to my house. The elders answer to my question was to refer me to the Society for an answer. Willingly or unwillingly, purposefully or ignorantly, theres too much blood on their hands and I cant think of any good that they have done that can cancel that. Yes, they taught me something about the Bible, but I think had I not met them, I would have learned any way. Most people are not confident of that, just like my mother, and thats probably the main reason why she doesnt leave. She doesnt think she can find good biblical instruction anywhere else. It shows how good a job the Witnesses have done on her.
Bottom line is that we should be cautions as snakes when it comes to swallowing anybodys statements as truth. Im the same way when I read a newspaper. The Watchtower house has to come down. Just because it has plenty of room and modern conveniences does not make it livable. Its foundation is sinking and its structural integrity will not pass inspection. I would hope that something takes its place. I would love to be reunited with all the good people I knew while I was there. But I would not walk through the door of that house until its rebuilt and the people responsible for its present conditions are evicted.