My family on both sides is very JW. My father was a Bethelite and a missionary. I was born abroad as a result. The religion has been one of the most dysfunctionally divisive forces of family destruction.
I was a Witness until I was 13 and most of my fam back in Brooklyn and Upstate are as well. Ironically, so is my ex girlfriend, and it's the reason she broke up with me. An off the cuff comment got me "Apostate'd".
I was raised in the JW church for the first 22 years of my life. I never fully believed their rhetoric. I consindered myself as I grew towards my teen years as being an observer in their religion. I had no problems with lgbt people and didn't think homosexuality was 'sinful' or 'wrong', I didn't believe that 99.9% of the world would die at Armageddon. I thought many atheists were very moral people, didn't look at all non-JW's as 'evil' and thought that other religious people were just an entitled to their worldview even if we disagreed on beliefs. I resigned from the church at 21 but it took a whole year for it go through. I ended up being a part of many Christian denominations which ran along the fundamentalist, moderate and liberal spectrum and was a part of a couple mainstream non-Abrahamic religions before being apart of non-theistic religious groups and finally became a member of Humanistic Judaism. The Jackson's were raised in the JW's. His mother and his one sister are still members along with some other relatives. His mom takes his three kids to services but she let's them celebrate Christmas and do things that the church would not approve of. Serena and Venus Williams along with their mother are members of the JW church, Geroge Benson, the Wayan brothers who are possibly non-practing, JaRule is a former member, one of Eminem's band members is a former member, One of Metallica's band members is an ex-JW and as I said Michael, Latoya, Janet, Tito, Jermaine, Jackie and the other brother are ex-JW's but I heard that rumors that Michael 'secretly' rejoined the church but I don't know if that is true, the now deceased popular latina singer Selena Quintanilla Perez and her family were non-practicing members and Prince iis a member who converted a few years back and seems to have become quite the jerk since joining. I don't why the JW's even tolerate members being celebrities when it takes so much time off from devoting themselves more fully to the church. If the knew what was good for them they would outright band their members from becoming famous all together. Mom is still a member and we don't really talk that much. My dad is a Seventh-day Adventist and is more open-minded. My best friend who grew up in the JW's with me is a convert to Mormonism! Imagine that. A JW converting to Mormonism! That's a very rare and quite fascinating occurence isn't it? One of the Christian denominations that I belonged to after leaving the JW's was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My friend who left the JW's for Mormonism said she knows quite a few ex-JW's who have converted to Mormonism which as I said is a rare occurence. If I were forced to choose between being a part of only two fundamentalist Christian denominations and those only two choices were between being a JW or a Mormon. I would rather be a Mormon again. Mormon theology, culture and history is way more fascinating. I'd rather reconvert to Mormonism than be a JW again!