A good thread......interesting.
I think my take away is how pervasive a religion can be. If you are a born-in it's all you've ever known. It's the right thing and the right way to go............ nothing to really examine........... until you learn differently.
If your converted at an older age you probably have some mental kinks but nothing anyone might mention. If a born in but you refuse to get baptized, you definitely, from the JW perspective, have some mental kinks.
To really see the forces at work look at what people have believed.......Since the WT formed in the late 19 century look at all of the nonsense religions that got a foothold in that era.
The Shakers started in the 18th century but drew a lot of members in the early 19th century. Married couples who joined them could no longer sleep together .......forget about sex.
The Mormons......... started by a con man who wound up with 30 or 40 wives. Shot to death in a jail cell by irate husbands and Town people. With a bundle of very disparaged beliefs they prospered. Up to 18 million. Wow! Until you realize that they still count their population by births. If you were born in and fell away you were still counted a Mormon. On that basis the JW's could easily double their numbers or just count the Memorial attendance.
Mary Baker Eddy founded the Christian Scientists. It really wasn't Christian nor Science. The religion attracted followers and got up to 500.000 believers. They killed themselves off as medical practices greatly improved........ they are now down to 50,000 according to the internet.
The point of this is how pervasive beliefs.......strange or not.....can be.
All a religion has to do is explained by Eric Hoffer in the True Believer........
All active mass movements strive, therefore, to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. ...by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth nor certitude outside it. ...To rely on the evidence of senses and of reason is heresy and treason. It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible. What we know as blind faith is sustained by innumerable unbelief's.
Amen to that one.
So I say hats off to everyone who fights off, crawls out of, claws their way out of and forthrightly seeks a better way to live knowing that they will ultimately be abandoned by the very people they sought to serve with, abandoned by a corrupt organization, abandoned by family and friends.