I suppose after lurking around for a few weeks I thought I might share my own personal story, as I think it would probably be a very freeing experience for me right now.
To start off, At 23 years old I'm actually a Third-Generation JW, my grandparents were baptized (my grandfather is actually an Elder) when my mother was only a toddler, she was raised as a Witness, then of course, married a Witness and thus myself and my two brothers were born-in's.
Growing up my mother was always very careful about what she taught me, all the good things for sure, about how we would live in a paradise earth and I could pet all the animals that I wanted and not worry about growing old, and she'd ask me who in the bible I'd love to see and talk with - my grandparents however, were a different story and the cause of I think, most of my childhood trauma.
They really drilled home the fact that we were the only people who were going to be saved, we were the only people that were going to survive and that everyone else was going to die horribly - that I shouldn't try to make that many friends in school because they would never be "real" friends unless they were fellow JW's and they would die anyway. I was frequently shown (and its all over most publications anyway) illustrations of fireballs raining from the sky and people falling into cracks in the earth on one page, meanwhile on the other page, people were laughing and smiling with the sun on their face. It scared me.
It scared me to the point where, despite the fact that I and my family regularly attended meetings when I was younger, every thunderstorm caused me to go into full-blown panic thinking that this was the beginning of the end, sunsets triggered horrible visions of angels flying down from the sky and smiting the "wicked" and I was still scared because I thought, I was going to die regardless.
Well fast-forward to present time, my mother and father divorced (adultery on his part), my mother is an unactive JW, my older brother is atheist, and my younger brother has yet to state his opinion on the matter. Our last visit to my grandparents house is really what I think, triggered me to finally search things up.
My grandfather spoke quietly to my mother and I, about how the Organization (I do not know if he meant the GB or just those in the meeting) felt that The End was drawing even closer the it was before, and that there was a renewed urgency in the preaching work. Of course, that sent me into a silent panic attack, and even my mother, who normally is very calm, got rattled.
We after returning home, and my mom seemed adamant that we return to the meetings, something however, changed in me I think, all those years of not attending, of living in "The World" and meeting people, making friends, experiencing life. I turned to my mom and asked, "Could you do that? Could you leave behind your sons?" Because I knew in my heart, and I think mom knows too, that my older brother is not about to change and flip back, especially not when the last he spoke about the JW, he called it a cult (ironic that I had been so opposed to hearing him say that before.)
She couldn't 100% answer, and as the days went by I began wondering myself, if God really intended to wipe out ALL those who were not JW. Even those whose crime was simply following the faith that they had been raised in, just like my mother was doing, just like I had been doing.
So I decided to look on the internet, the official JW website, because I decided if I wanted to get back into things, there was some fairly simply questions I had been wanting to know for y e a r s. Something simple, like. Dinosaurs.
I typed in Dinosaurs and was met with just a single article, that wasn't even directly answering the "Where did dinosaurs come from?" question, but was rather, about Creationism in general.
So I took to google, because surely there were other brothers and sister out there wondering what our stance was about Dinosaurs! And then I found this website, and jw-facts and I could swear I almost stopped breathing.
I had never known much of the origins of our religion, nor really questioned any of the teachings that I'd been taught, or where they came from, or if they even matched up with the scriptures. So many things I never knew appeared in front of my eyes. I'll admit I was terrified at first, because this meant that I was looking at "Apostate" material, that surely this was the Devil's way of making an already spiritually-weak individual fully succumb.
But then I read the scripture
1 John 4:1 "Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world."
And I thought to myself, why would the GB warn away looking up information outside of the WTS if in the scriptures, it asks us to test the truth of everything we are taught, to ensure it is coming from God?
So I learned as much as I could, and I suppose to could call if foolishness, or perhaps hopeful thinking that I confronted my mother about all of what I found and she was horrified to find that I was on "apostate sites!" Needless to say we got into quiet a heated argument that didn't really get anywhere except for this exchange:
Me: I just cannot accept the fact that Jehovah would destroyed 99.9% of the earth simply because they weren't Witnesses! What about all these people in the world, good honest people whose only crime is that they don't call themselves JW? Whose only crime is that they are firm in their belief of God and Jesus but go to a church instead of a Kingdom Hall? How is that loving?
Mom: But don't you think he's also been a patient God as well? It's been how many years since Adam's original sin that he has waited for humanity?
Me: So you would be perfectly okay to live forever, for all eternity on a paradise earth, without my brothers?
Mom: I don't know.
Me: Without me?
Mom: Jehovah can see the heart's of good people. I can't speak for him, I can't say what will happen. But Jehovah knows the hearts, and knows what it was that made you(r) brothers lose their faith, I'm sure he takes that into consideration.
So in essence, my mother does not really fully believe in the "Only JW will survive" and that has always been one of the main reasons why I have started to wonder and question, among every single thing that I read (and agree with, and have my eyes opened about) that single fact of "If Jehovah really wanted only those in a small group to survive, why did he not state as such in the Bible? Why did Jesus not make mention of it, if that key feature was so important?"
So I suppose in a nutshell, maybe I've always kinda had my eyes half-open, but learning the mountain of information has really made me question everything. I honestly in my heart still believe that there is God, and that his name is Jehovah (or Yahweh) and his son, Jesus Christ, died for us. I just don't believe that the only means of getting to truly know and appreciate him, and to have a loving relationship with him, is through the WTS.