I used to be a JW for a few years but I left it behind like a pair of dirty underwear. At first it seemed good. The people were all very nice and inviting (of course they would be), the teachings seemed logical. But, as with anything, the more you learn the more information you have to formulate your own thoughts and questions.
The questions I had were, if we are not supposed to lean on our own understandings what did Russel and Rutherford do? It's stated in a major JW publication that he reread the Bible as if he had never read it before. Throwing out everything he had ever been taught before and he took a fresh new look at it. Why? To draw his own conclusions on it! To see where the churches went wrong. He relied on his own understanding! Yet we are not supposed? Give me a break!
They preach about not doing things just for show, like donating money during a meeting or helping a brother or sister out. That, if you were to do something for show you were as a whitewashed grave. And then they'd site the scripture about the poor woman giving from her need while the other gave of their surplus. They preach all of this yet want you to wear a black trenchcoat, suit and tie and carry a book bag when out on the street so that you "stand out" so that others might approach you and ask you who you are. During conventions they want you wear your name tag for the entire rest of the day to any public place that you goto. Why? So that everyone can see who you are! So you can, in effect, say "LOOK AT ME! I'M A WITNESS! BEHOLD MY GLORY!" Is that not doing things for show? Is that not hypocritical?
They say that they don't follow a man. They follow Jesus. And that the only reason why there's a president to the society is for legal reasons. BULL! They follow everything him and the GB says without question! They have from the beginning and they still do today. Case in point:
* JW's used to celebrate Christmas. That is until it was announced by Russel at breakfast, one morning, to the slaves at Bethel that he wouldn't be celebrating Christmas anymore and if you were a good Christian you wouldn't celebrate it either. And that meeting detailed this new policy and that if they didn't adhear to it they were DF'd.
Is this not following a man? Just because he said not to do it, they stopped doing it. Not because they felt it was wrong, but out of fear of being DF'd.
There was a big campaign in the 70's about quiting smoking. They said that the "new understanding" was that you can't be a Christian and smoke so you have 6 months to quit and if you haven't successfuly quit by then.... guess what... you were DF'd.
Did they quit out of love for their bodies? No. They were afraid of being DF'd. They were FOLLOWING MEN!
Being an intelligent and logical person it didn't take long for these conclussions to draw themselves out. And when questions started to get asked by me they started counselling me to keep my mouth shut. When I asked if they wanted my silence because they felt that I would reveal the true nature of this religion to those who lack the capacity for independant thought they said that it would be concidered apostacy. I asked, "Why? Becuase I'm seeing the things that the creaters of this religion have done and how they turned right around and told everyone else not to do it?! Because I'm seeing inconsistancies in these teachings that don't jive with the leaders own actions? Because I am intelligent enough to figure this out and logical enough to demand an explanation? I demand an explanation to these things."
They refused. I reminded them that it was their responsibility and they were shirking their duties by not answering my questions. That, if they were truely interested in tending to their so-called "flock" as true sheppards of God, they would answer my questions to my satisfaction. "Questions left unanswered will only lead to self-composed conclusions and, as you people say, Don't rely on your own understanding. Shall I lean on my own understandings of these matters or shall I lean on yours? It's your choice."
This lead no where. After their true colors were shown to me I stopped going to meetings. I soon moved out of the area and to another state. Out of curiosity I went to a meeting there and I never saw such mindless automotons. They seemed devoid of any personality or individuality and they ignored me to the fullest, even after introducing myself as a brother. It was at that point that I knew this was not the "Truth" they proclaim it was. Even though I never went to meetings or did anything with the religion for a couple of years after that it took me a while to fully disown it and start celebrating holidays with my family. I guess it was because of the guilt that they instill in you that, if you leave the fold you are a weak person that doesn't deserve God's blessings.
All I have to say to that is that they shall reap the whirwind when it comes time. They will be doubly judged because they take on the mantle of Elder, Spiritual Leader. And I wouldn't want to be in their shoes at that time.