Information is controlled, and when you live in a sleepy town in the heart of England there was no need to doubt.
I can assure you that the bustling city of New York in the 70s and 80s was quite the same. Possibly even more so, since the organization was headquartered there. And even though we were close to it and were able to visit with less effort, the pilgrimage was no less sacred and special for many. It's amazing how easy it was to keep people in the dark before the internet tore down all of those walls.