I can say with 100% conviction that if there were not life changing family and social consequences to just saying I don't believe it any more then I would have left 3 years ago.
All shunning soon to end
Shunning is a two edged sword. On one hand it is perceived as a mechanism to protect the jws from spiritually dangerous, perhaps free thinking, sinful family and friends, yet on the other hand it is also a mechanism which divides and hurts families and friendships. Were it to be dissolved it would create free movement in and out of the jw org. This freedom might actually result in an increase in numbers as the society would then be seen as not a closed group, and so more friendly. Pros and cons...
If witnesses were allowed to talk to people that have left the Watchtower it would lead them asking them questions about why they left. That wouldn't be in the Watchtower's best interest. Better to paint those who leave as monsters to be avoided at all costs.
What if ....
They revoked the policy of shunning disassociated ones to let all the awake JWs leave the organization so that they're left only with zealous, true-believing JWs, then 3 or 4 years later they issue "new light" reinstating the shunning process for those who disassociate and apply it retroactively to all who disassociated when they relaxed the policy. Then 3 or 4 years later they again issue new light revoking the policy of shunning disassociated ones. So it's a flip flop of no shun - shun - no shun.
Why would they do such a thing? They get to have their cake and eat it too. How so? First of all they get rid of all the current secretly disloyal JWs which would reduce their numbers a bit - but I doubt it would be cut by more than 10%. This drop in numbers will give Watchtower an excuse to cut spending and beg for more money - to a greater proportion than the drop in numbers actually justify. They would actually take in more money because awake JWs aren't contributing money to Watchtower anyway and are actually costing them money by having to print meeting materials for them. So allowing secretly dissenting JWs to leave helps their bottom line and gives them an excuse to further cut output and hoard more money.
Secondly when they reinstate the shunning process a few years later this serves to dissuade too many JWs from leaving the organization. It's like blood letting in the old days. You make a cut to drain out some blood but you don't want too much blood draining out or the person will die. But this does something else that's very important: It teaches JWs that just because Watchtower stops shunning today doesn't mean it's safe to disassociate because there's no guarantee they won't reinstate the process tomorrow only to have you being shunned by family unexpectedly.
Once this psychological effect has been achieved they can then finally permanently disband the policy of shunning those who disassociate with little fear that most JWs will disassociate. Then they can say to the media and the courts that members are free to leave at anytime and they don't practice shunning. See how that all works?
And if at any time in the future they find too many are disassociating they only need to temporarily reinstate the shunning process to control the situation. Or maybe they would issue some new policy to sniff out the reason why a JW wants to disassociate and if it has anything to do with the JW disbelieving the organization or its teachings then they would DF the person for apostasy before the disassociate. In other words it would become more difficult to disassociate, in that you'd have to prove to a committee that you're not an apostate in order for them to accept your disassociation and not DF you for apostasy.
They could allow people to disassociate without automatic shunning and issue a new policy telling members that only if a disassociated one started speaking critically of the organization or its teachings should they cut off all association with such ones and inform the elders [who would then make some kind of announcement at the next midweek meeting that will serve to indicate to JWs in the congregations that the person should be shunned]. That way JWs who want to leave get to leave and keep their family, as long as they keep their mouth shut about TTATT. And the organization gets to protect the JW sheeple from hearing TTATT from apostates by teaching JWs to initiate shunning the first time such ones start being critical.
Book Review: The Watchtower Society, Organizational Misbehavior
This is the way Crisis of Conscience should have been written. Finally, a book written on the Watchtower Society by someone who actually knows how to write! After reading the subheading, “The Psychology of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” (pages 160–182), I have abandoned the belief that we have an “unconscious,” and will never again consult any psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor. The next time I feel down, I’ll be turning to Jehovah in prayer and to his Word. I also loved the unique way Mr. Ibarra completely destroys the JW doctrines of 1914 and the 144,000. I’m still beside myself at the way he wrote it. It’s unlike anything you have ever seen or will ever see again. And Gabriel’s detailed analysis of the Watchtower Society’s encyclopedia, Insight on the Scriptures, where he shows that 13% of it is nothing but assumption, is extra icing on a cake that has already left you satisfied. Believe me, you will never find anything like this on the internet nor on any book written by “apostates.” Take all the books ever written on the Jehovah’s Witness religion, put them together, and Gabriel H Ibarra pulverizes them.
Although the book is about the Society, on several places Mr. Ibarra analyzes Scripture in many ancient languages which is just mind-blowing, especially in Appendix 1 and 2. A brilliant Bible scholar and ancient language scholar, Gabriel H Ibarra holds supremacy, an excellency worthy of respect. Seeing first hand the absolute mastery he has over these disciplines, I’ll put Gabriel H Ibarra against any scholar with a thousand doctorates any time. Now I understand why Mr. Ibarra was nicknamed Jehovah’s Word, because he commands the Bible and ancient languages like no other, Gabriel H Ibarra “has no equal.” Clearly, this man’s supergenius is the product of holy spirit, since it can’t be explained in human terms. With good reason, I have nothing but praise for this work. Amen!Too bad few people know about this book or are willing to buy it because of the price, since it’s a major blow to the mighty Watchtower Society. Now that I have read it, personally, I would have paid up to $100, you can buy it at Lulu.