slimboyfat, when one considers that the first president (Russell) of the WT corporation was a skeptic for a period of time before founding the WT and when one considers that the the second president (Rutherford) of the WT corporation was an atheist for a period time before becoming affiliated with the WT, it is not very surprising that some liberal scholars, reading the New Testament without a faith commitment to uphold, come to some conclusions that are similar to JWs. Consider the following evidence of the above claims about Russell and Rutherford.
The WT book from 1959 called Jehovah's Witnesses In the Divine Purpose, which is about the WT's/JW's history, on page 14 quotes Charles Taze Russell as having said the following about himself: "Brought up a Presbyterian, indoctrinated from the Catechism, and being naturally of an inquiring mind, I fell a ready prey to the logic of infidelity, as soon as I began to think for myself. But that which at first threatened to be the utter shipwreck of faith in God and the Bible was, under God's providence, overruled for good, and merely wrecked my confidence in human creeds and systems of Bible interpretations." Russell also said that listening to a speaker of the Second Adventists enabled Russell to reestablish his "... wavering faith in the Divine Inspiration of the Bible ...."
The 1955 edition of the WT book called Qualified To Be Ministers on pages 298-299 say regarding Russell : "... although brought up a Presbyterian he joined the nearby Congregational Church, because it was more liberal. ... The doctrines of predestination and eternal punishment gave him particular difficulty, and by the time he was seventeen he had become an avowed skeptic, discarding the Bible and the creeds of the churches." Page 299 also quotes the same content I quoted above from the Divine Purpose book.
The 1974 WT book book called 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses
on page 35 says the following about Russell when Russell was in between
the ages of 12 and 17: '... Russell was spiritually troubled.
Especially was he concerned about the doctrines of eternal punishment
and predestination. He reasoned: "A God that would use his power to
create human beings whom he foreknew and predestinated should be
eternally tormented, could be neither wise, just nor loving. His
standard would be lower than that of many men." (1 John 4:8)
Nonetheless, young Russell continued to believe in God's existence. His
mind beleaguered by concern over doctrine, he examined the various
creeds of Christendom, studied leading Oriental religions--and
experienced grave disappointment. Where was truth to be found?'
See also pages 42-43, 122, and 126 of the 1993 WT book called Jehovah's Witnesses--Proclaimers of God's Kingdom
Regarding Joseph F. Rutherford the October 1, 1997 issue of "The Watchtower" on page 6 says the following under the heading of "Atheism No Bar to Jehovah's Personal Interest (note that in the quote below I have added bold face for emphasis)":
'Joseph F. Rutherford was the second president of the Watch Tower Society. He was baptized in 1906 as a Bible Student--the designation Jehovah's Witnesses were then known by--was appointed the Society's legal counsel the following year, and became its president in January 1917. Yet, at one time this young lawyer was an atheist. How did he become such a motivated Christian servant of Jehovah?
In July 1913, Rutherford served as chairman of an International Bible Students Association convention held in Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A. A reporter from the local newspaper, The Homestead, interviewed Rutherford, and the account was reprinted in the souvenir report of that convention.
Rutherford explained that at the time he planned to marry, his religious views were those of the Baptist denomination, but those of his wife-to-be were Presbyterian. When Rutherford's pastor said that "she was going to hell fire because she had not been immersed and that he was going straight to heaven because he had been, his logical mind revolted and he became an atheist."
It took Rutherford several years of careful research to rebuild his faith in a personal God. He worked, he said, from the premise that "that which cannot satisfy the mind has no right to satisfy the heart." Christians "must be sure that the Scriptures in which they believe are true," Rutherford explained, adding: "They must know the foundation on which they stand."--See 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
Yes, it is possible even today for an atheist or an agnostic to search the Scriptures, build up faith, and develop a strong personal relationship with Jehovah God. After a careful study of the Bible with the aid of the Watch Tower publication Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life, one young man confessed: "I did not believe in God when I started this study, but now I find that knowledge of the Bible has turned my whole thinking around. I am beginning to know Jehovah and to trust in him." ' [The next section (under the heading of' "The Fool" and God') of that WT article bashes atheists, suggesting that in all cases that their atheism stems from a "moral deficiency" and a "lack of sense".]
It was by reading that article in 1997 that I learned that Rutherford had been an atheist for a period of time before he became baptized as a Bible Student and before he became the second president of the WT corporation. A few years later I stopped attending JW congregational meetings, except on rare occasions (such as the Memorial for a number of years), largely in order to do an independent minded study of the Bible and of the WT/JW history. That research was so I could find out if the WT/JW religion has a number of false doctrines and so I could discover more doctrines of the Bible than I already knew.
As a side note, WT literature sometimes depicts nudity (sometimes full nudity and sometimes partial nudity). For example page 7 of the WT article has an illustration which includes a depiction an adult female angel in heaven with bare (and not obscured) firm breasts. Revealing examples (in regards to women) are shown on pages 29, 117, the full color illustration page immediately before page 193, and 324, of Rutherford's 1937 book called Enemies. A another revealing example is on page 316 of Rutherford's 1940 book called Religion, and the illustration of demons on page 72 of the same book.