“What would explain the jehovahs witnesses having the highest rate of mental illness out of all Christian religions?”
To the extent it is true, and I am not sure what extent that is, Luke 5:31 is what would explain it:
“In reply Jesus said to them: “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but those who are ill do.”
Do you think he is speaking of cancer? Or is mental distress, such as might accompany anguish over the atrocities of this world and the blame assigned to God for it more to the point? To my mind, the ones you should worry about are those who are not greatly troubled by the stressors of life today—those who sail blithely through the horrors and cruelties without a care.
“If you looked into the 'turnover' within the JW faith, I think you would find one of the biggest turnovers of all religions. Explain that one.”
It is easily offset by the high participation rate of those who stick. After all, with many faiths, people might not actually leave, but how would you know if they did?
It is also explained by the fact that there is a substantial cost to being a Witness—to be a minister of Christ is to be self-sacrificing and to make numerous changes in one’s conduct. Why bother leaving a faith that asks very little of you?
Seen, it that light, it is remarkable that the “turnover” you speak of isn’t much higher than it is.
“How is the JW organization moving forward SPIRITUALLY ?...I'm not talking about physical things...I'm talking about purely spiritual matters.”
I would say the numerous schools that exist now that did not 50 years ago fits the bill. For elders, ministerial servants, traveling reps, etc. Intense and reoccurring instruction lasting anywhere from a weekend to a few weeks.
I have attended some of these schools. Almost all content is on imitating Jesus’ manner of dealing with the flock, dealing with those in the ministry, showing tenderness, not lording it over, leading by example, and so forth. Very little is on what would be called ‘doctrinal.’
I remember in particular one instructor leading around a string on a table with forefinger firmly applied to one end. “See how the rest of the string follows so nicely?” he asked. He then reversed course and tried to “push” the string. “See how it bunches up when I do that?” he said. “It’s really not too smart of me to do it that way, is it?” The lesson, of course, was to lead by example, and not by being “pushy.”
These schools have a cumulative effect of refining those exercising any authority. That they are needed can be inferred from Jesus’ dealings with those to whom he granted the greatest authority. Even on the eve of his death he interceded in an argument they were having as to which one of them was the greatest, the same as you might do with children. (Luke 22:24)
Take that into account for anyone carrying on about how inspired, unerring, and pure the leaders were back then and by extension ought be today. Grown men are capable of behaving like children. It happened then, it happens today. Refresher course training in which students will focus on scores of scriptures—and if they prepare as the ought—hundreds of scriptures, go a long way towards training those in authority to lead and shepherd as Christ did.
And, far from the GB dreaming up a school that they ride above and apply to everyone else, when such a school is formulated, they put themselves through it first. They do not imagine that they cannot benefit from intense review of how Jesus dealt with people.