But we all 'accepted' this organisation at some point in our lives and in some way submitted to its rulings.
For my part it was because I believed the biblical promises that they focused on.
Was it a terrible experience? (As it is in some cults, where there is a culture of bullying) Was it all bad? I can't argue that it was for me.The Congregation Servant (this is back in the fifties) in the first congregation I was associated with was one of the most gentle men you could meet, with a deep personal interest in the well-being of all in the congregation. In another congregation in which I pioneered in Victoria, the sisters in the congregation spontaneously organised themselves to provide a hot meal each day for an elderly brother.
Its true that Australia may have a different culture generally, and perhaps in the JW congregations of that country. It maybe that different nations see other nations in different ways. Most Australian witnesses that I knew thought that American witnesses were very materialistic, and that European witnesses were too free with alcohol (sorry if I'm treading on some toes). And, I heard that at Gilead, the Australian experience in WW2 was help up as an example of how rebellion may develop at the end of the 1000 years. The line of reasoning may have been that Aussies were too relaxed and couldn't see what was really rebellious.
Those who stay (including my own kids), and are living in the western world, where there is an emphasis on personal freedom and individual choice, must find something attractive in witness life. I 'believed' like any Christian must believe, and assisted my kids to believe by choice. Did I brainwash them? That depends how you define 'brainwash.' I believed that raising questions and providing answers was the way to teach. That's the meaning of the word 'catechism,' - a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for religious instruction. And the Catholic church (a highly structured organisation) like the witnesses, still uses a catechism, to instruct children and converts.
I decided not to be confrontational with my own kids (who were adults anyway). They want to stay in that organisation. What right do I have to be confrontational? They all seem to be OK people, with successful lives ( among the three marriages - one partner has undertaken tertiary studies, and another is involved in teaching dancing as a hobby). Some argue that they are wasting their lives. Maybe so! But some people say to me, why do you want to waste your life going to university and studying for exams, why don't you relax and go fishing, like me? The answer is because I want to (and anyway I hate fishing - the existential struggle of the fish upsets me). I see no reason to struggle against my kids, even though Christianity has placed a barrier between us.