My excuse is that I was born in the religion. But if someone wasn’t, why would they become one?
What Makes Someone Become a JW?
I was born in too so can only speak from that point of view: Why would a born in become a JW? Primarily to avoid feeling excluded from family members who are JWs.
I don't understand it myself because I was born in as well. I asked my dad why he joined. My mom joined because she is an evil wackadoo and it suits her perfectly.
My dad is an intellectual type and a scientist, so I was really befuddled that he joined of his own free will. We know the cult preys on people who are vulnerable and at risk. They offer blind and disabled people a community who will love them and take care of them. They offer hope to people experiencing grief and loss.
My dad said that he was approached at a time when a lot of young adults were really scared and unsure of their world. It was during the Vietnam war and a lot of young men were being drafted. There was the sexual revolution going on and the music revolution and kids and young adults were just rebelling like the US hadn't seen before. The future was very uncertain and the JWs had answers. They had really appealing answers and they could tell you how to achieve the goals to get the rewards. And it wasn't super easy to track down all the fallacies in their doctrines and beliefs back then.
Why do people join today? With the internet and access, I don't know. I think people who join are still scared about their futures and want answers. They want easy answers more than they want the truth. And to be honest, I get it to a certain extent. If I didn't know how awful it is already, if I went and got love-bombed and people telling me all I had to do was A, B, and C in order to get this amazing prize... yeah, I might just fall for it too.
Wanting a better life than what this old system has to offer.
One word = ignorance
Speaking from my non born in situation (I joined in 1990 when I was in my early 20s). It was the influence of those older than me that had been or were JW's that I knew at the time. They said things like "The fear that the world was truly in the deep deep time of the end with only a few more years left at best". "Jehovah's Witness's have not been proven wrong" etc. So it was wanting to learn more about how to survive this warning about the end coming soon, the surviving on into the paradise to live forever that got me hooked. I didn't start to wake up to TTATT (what I had got myself into) until the mid 2000's, by then it was to late. We all know there is no way anyone can leave in an honorable and dignified way, the gossip that active witness's say about their former friends that have left, gossip that is mostly untrue made up stories ,but active witness's say things like this so that it gives them a positive sense that they are better that those who leave. Its a sad fact that a religion can manipulate the mind of a follower to continuously believe teachings that put jw.org in a positive first place in there life's.
I think people become Jehovah’s Witnesses because it makes them feel better about themselves. They may deal with conflicts but ultimately they feel special.
The WT literature discussed Bible passages I'd never read or heard discussed before. It gave them the appearance of being Bible scholars.
In addition, many Christians made no effort to refute the WT. I don't know if they assumed it wasn't necessary or if they didn't want to take the time to come up with answers.
Another part of the attraction was that it was a religion that seemed to be for dedicated people. By that I mean it wasn't just confined to weekends and then ignored the rest of the week.
Many of the negatives of the WT (legalism, guilt, fear, constant pressure to do more, etc.) weren't apparent to visitors.
Likewise, it wasn't easy to find the doctrinal flip-flops and false prophecies because outsiders didn't have access to WT archives and wouldn't have known what to look for if they had.
Much of this has changed now with the advent of the internet, of course, but in pre-internet days it was hard to get information.
I'm a born in. I believe my mother had post partem depression. I think most who join are looking for direction in their lives. Want definitions. Want someone to tell them what and how to live. A lot of emotional wrecks and mental issues. If someone believes the common misconception that the bible is Gods Word they can be misled.
Building on what a watcher said, my guess is that JW organization offers a 'happily ever after' hope that is as appealing to adults as it is children - especially those who in some way feel aggrieved about life and its demands and responsibilities. And it works for exactly the same reason fairy stories work: Emotions triumph over reason.
I would also suggest it is more likely to work if one's critical faculties are on vacation, especially if trust replaces thinking.