I concur with many here like OnTheWayOut, Sunworshipper805, and Magnum. For me it was cumulative and produced nagging doubts it was like, “What in blazes am I hearing from this WT study, public talk, assembly program etc.”
The retooling of the “generation” teaching in 1995, 81 years after 1914 was a red flag. This was a benchmark teaching that many Witnesses used to make crucial life-altering decisions. It was simply torpedoed out of existence and replaced. My lingering doubts were now crystalized that the leaders of this religion were clearly fabricating their doctrines. As the years and decades marched on with no end in sight, they were using a piecemeal approach to make modifications.
Regrettably, I remained active until the nonsensical teaching in 2010 that two groups of anointed from 1914, overlap to make up a continuous generation. I knew it was all a falsehood 15 years earlier, what was I thinking? Aside from the obvious fear of losing your entire family and social network in a heartbeat, something else is at play in the JW mindset.
It’s what is called herd mentality. This is defined as, “The inability or refusal to listen to one's own instinct or 'gut feeling' but to instead follow the majority for fear of being wrong, ostracized or ridiculed.”
While we are nurturing doubts, we feel guilty when we observe our fellow congregants and their apparent faithful lifestyle. We are surrounded by pioneers, elders, servants, CO’s and Bethelites etc. We go to large conventions and see literally thousands of people, many that we respect and admire that tirelessly soldier on in their JW activities. We wonder could all these families be duped and I’m right. On the other hand, could I be the one that is seeing things incorrectly?
Therefore, the direct anxiety of being shunned along with the “herd mentality” literally causes many years or even decades to go by, before we can break free from the grip this religion has on people.
The GB leadership whether today or 80 years ago has a lot to answer for; they have indeed ruined a countless number of lives of people who were mostly sincere and believed they were doing God’s will.