Questioningmyfaith, a warm welcome to the site and thanks for posting. The fact that you have come here and explained your situation shows that unlike most JWs, you are prepared to think for yourself, a very good quality!
As one who experiences shunning and worse from my JW family, I think that the JW religion has proved in my case to have caused more pain and suffering than any other thing in my life. That might be just my private misfortune but I’m sure I’m not alone. However since leaving the org, my life, freedom and happiness has improved immensely. In my case it has come about by finding out how the world works and by a sceptical analysis of things.
Doc has already said that he felt like you at your stage in waking up...we understand here! The notion that not all is well in JW land is usually very confusing and unsettling. You are justified in objecting to the criticism of the brothers, most of them are decent people... after all we are talking about ourselves!
The missing link which is never alluded to in its raw state is that the JW world can only exist because of its ruthless power structure. It is autocratic, it is authoritarian, it uses the emotions and stories found in the Bible as tools to control its subservient followers. The gospel now appears to be the Watchtower itself and the mediators between men and God are the GB... Any lie as Hitler knew, can be made to stick if it is repeated enough.
The innocent believers are god-fearing and often with poor education; they enjoy being led and especially with the prospect of paradise ahead. (Funny how the paradise carrot is attached ever ahead of the WT donkey as it moves forward in an attempt to reach it)... The WTBTS power play may not be the picture you have seen or imagined regarding the GB but believe me, if you left the org it would become starkly apparent and then you would understand the reason for the animosity held amongst many ex-JWs. We were lied to. Can you trust people who lie to you?