So I've been thinking a lot about why I stayed a JW for so long even though I had always had doubts about the doctrines. I was born into the religion, left and came back as an adult for another decade. Some of the things that come to mind (besides the threat of shunning-and this isn't to minimize that very real threat) was:
I thought this would be a good environment to bring up my kids. I know, I know....super crazy. But you have to consider this was how I was brought up so it didn't seem weird and the only thing I knew about the world was this brief stint where I was around a bunch of young adults who had a lot of issues of their own (dysfunction attracts dysfunction, right?) At that time I didn't have any interaction with other parents,etc.
In all honesty my family has some rank in the org so it I got a lot of ego-stroking. That was instantaneous from others without me having to do anything at all. I basked in the status of my family (while always being an "on the fringes" JW). Outside the org I was just a regular person (probably feeling less than for an array of reasons) but inside I was really respected.
The social aspect. We got together a lot for bar b cues, trips, beach days, get togethers,etc It was a community that I felt comfortable in.
Fear. I was afraid of what was out in "world" and more afraid I didn't have the skills to maneuver being out of the org. I was emotionally immature, uneducated and not economically independent (my ex was working- I wasn't).
Guilt. I felt I had to do some sort of penance for the mistakes in my life. This included doing drugs/getting pregnant before marriage, etc. Going to meetings/service/studying were all ways to get that. I was working to get on God's good graces and I thought this was the way to do that. Do more!
Blessings! Yes, I thought if I was a really good JW everything in my life would be blessed. My marriage, job, etcs I guess just life in general.
Familiarity and knowing how things work. I was pretty adept and sizing up your spirituality and giving you what you wanted to hear. I talked trash with the double-lifers but I could talk the talk with the super spiritual. Since I grew up a JW I knew how to work around things so I could still do something things that were "on the edge" without getting in trouble.
I always had trouble believing in "Paradise" and many other doctrines that sounded nonsensical but I was all about the community until I realized there were great communities outside the org that weren't always judging you and genuine.
I'd be interested in hearing what made you stay in even though you realized this might not be the "truth".