Randy, I always love hearing from you, and thanks for introducing us to Warren S.
I was just reading about "secret Bible studies" and I thought how ironic it was that you all had to keep them SECRET at a place where they print Bibles(or a reasonable facsimile thereof).
I have only in recent years connected my young girl questioning and dis-association with the things I have read about going on in Bethel at the time. It was in 1981/2 that I started asking questions (out loud) to the gal who studied with me(who sicced the elders on me-in all earnestness).
I was fifteen and my 'challenges' to the 'truth' was regarding the Alpha and Omega. I just kept hearing them repeat what the WT said, showed them how the Bible didn't agree and would really not let up-not to be ornery, but because I really DID NOT understand how it could all just come down to "accepting what the FDS has dispensed". Basically, it wasn't my scholarship or intelligence that was in question, but my loyalty. I didn't even know what DA'ing WAS. I wasn't baptised-had grown up in the KH. That was my only exposure to religion. I knew I hadn't done anything WRONG, so I could not comprehend or even fathom what was happening to me as I met with the elders.
How paranoid was the organization that a 15 year olds questions would result in disassociation? About as paranoid as the one I read about from former Bethelites. Learning what was going one there, and seeing personally how it trickled down to the congregations--well it is telling me a lot about the character of this 'man made' organization.
My first clue should have been right after the WT that justified the 1975 debacle. As I now think of it. We had a youth WT study that met most sat. nights. On that night, a 'prominent' elder, a nice guy, the father of a friend, was our chaperone. We had one at every one of the studies. We generally stayed on track, but sometimes would have studied ahead and brought up questions, issues, quandries. As you can imagine, that study was lengthy and involved. This elder told us a LOT of what was going on (most of us were pre-adolescent in 1975. I was 9)in the adult JW world at that time. The kinds of financial shenanigans that people were doing to either take advantage of what they thought would happen(not exactly clear on what WAS supposed to happen, but the world as we knew it was supposed to end) or in reckless spending-as they thought they would have no use for money anymore. People made large donations to the org "to show faith". Perhaps they were essentially buying indulgences. I don't know. In any case, this elder had done some things himself that reflected his conviction of what would transpire. He had some serious setbacks in the years afterward. He was a local businessman and I think he came off feeling kind of ridiculous and he seemed sheepish at the study. So,within weeks-a couple-our little study of 10-15 youths ended. I am sure you all know the reasons given. There were better uses for our time(7-10pm on a Sat night? HUH? kept us out of trouble!)Independent thinking(not the words they used, but definitely the issue that they really had) was dangerous.
So, the studies ended, and so did most of my JW social life. Which was probably good for ME, as it resulted in my having more 'worldly' friends/acquaintances and made the transition easier when I was expelled.
At the time, I never heard of Franz(the internal workings of the Borg were not something I would have paid attention to). Soon after, I was shown an article about him in "Time" magazine. Interesting stuff, there:) I think he was featured in the magazine right before I was DA'd.(later that spring).
These days, JWs have a lot more resources, and many less excuses for staying, IMO. Now it is only cultivated and deliberate ignorance that would keep one in it.