I tend to be somewhat of a JW apologist at times... BUT
I believe they are deliberately deceptive. They may justify their deception (theocratic strategy) "for the greater good" but there is no more accurate word than deception.
Their handling of the internet is a good example. They claim to be interested in getting out information to as many people as possible. They compare themselves to the early Christians who used the codex (book) form of scripture instead of the cumbersome scrolls. They boast about the Photo Drama of Creation, Radio broadcasts, phonographs etc.
Read from the Proclaimers book (Official JW History as of 1993 )
In Chapter 25 Preaching Publicly and From House to House a brief history is given of the great initiative of JW's to use all means available to them to spread the word. This is what was said about the use of Radio
"Then, in the 1920's, another instrument became available to give wide publicity to the Kingdom message. Brother Rutherford felt strongly that the hand of the Lord was manifest in its development. What was it? Radio. Less than two years after the world's first commercial radio station began regular broadcasts (in 1920), J. F. Rutherford, president of the Watch Tower Society, went on the air to broadcast Bible truth. Here was an instrument that could reach millions of people simultaneously. Within two more years, in 1924, the Society had its own radio station, WBBR, in operation in New York. By 1933, the peak year, 408 stations were being used to carry the message to six continents. In addition to live broadcasts, programs on scores of subjects were prerecorded. Intense local advertising by distribution of printed announcements was done so that people would know about the broadcasts and could benefit from them. These broadcasts broke down much prejudice and opened the eyes of honesthearted ones. Many people, out of fear of their neighbors and the clergy, held back from attending meetings sponsored by the Bible Students, but this did not stop them from listening to the radio in the privacy of their own home. The broadcasts did not replace the need for house-to-house witnessing; but they did carry Bible truth to places that were hard to reach, and they provided excellent openings for conversations when the Witnesses personally visited the homes."
The above quote was pre-internet - 1993 The World Wide Web is without doubt the greatest communication tool that has ever appeared on the face of this planet. Everything the above article says about Radio could be said substituting the word internet. "Then in the 1990's another instrument became available to give wide publicity to the Kindom message. Brother Rutheford (The Society) felt strongly that the hand of the Lord was manifest in its development.... " just keep replacing Radio with "the internet".
Now fast foward to 2005.
Our Kindom Ministry (USA) page 4 article "Reaching as Many People as Possible"
Paragraph 2 " USE OF TECHNOLOGY (Bold Heading)
Through the prophet Isaiah, Jehovah foretold: "You will actually suck the milk of nations" (Isa. 60:16) In the modern-day fulfillment of this prophecy, Jehovah's servants are making use of valuable resources from the nations to advance the preaching work. For example, in 1914, years before talking motion pictures became successful commercially, the Bible Students began showing the "Photo-Drama of Creation" This eight-hour-long motion picture and slide presentation, complete with color and sound, gave a powerful witness to millions."
"Today, God's people make use of high-speed printing presses and computerized tools to publish Bibles and Bible literature in hundreds of languages. Rapid means of transport move Bible literature to distant parts of the earth reaching people in 235 lands. Through his spirit, Jehovah has impelled his servants to put such technology to practical use, making Bible truth available to more people than ever before in history."
Is the DECEPTION only obvious to me? Why wasn't Radio even mentioned? Why no reference to the 1993 article in the Proclaimers book? Is it because the Radio is so similar to the Internet? Why did the Watchtower have a web page in 1995 and never listed it or actively promote it? Since about 2001 (kind of late in the internet chronology) the Watchtower has had a tiny web address in about an 8point font. Why is the web page so stingy? Sure it has a lot of information but - nothing compared to what they could print. They could easily make everything they have on their CD available to anyone.
Imagine if you allowed 6.5 million jw's to put up their own web pages. What if there were several thousand discussion groups on the internet where people could ask questions and get answers from JW's.
Instead they constantly scare their members away from the world community of information sharing.
They know that they would lose control of information. They are more interested in information control than in information sharing. Guess what? They are losing control inspite of themselves.
Every once in a while someone asks "Do you think the Society reads this forum?" Yes they absolutely read this forum and others like it. They see all the excellent arguments against their doctrines such as blood transfusions. They read the criticism of their prophetic interpretations. They have to read this stuff because people at the door ask them questions based on arguments hashed and rehashed in on-line discussions. They get thousands of letters about Blood Transfusions, Prophecy, organizational policies etc.
Here is where deception comes in. They know ALL the good arguments against their beliefs. AND...They never even attempt to deal with these arguments in their publications.