This is the one question that never seemed to me to be a serious problem for religion. But both believers and atheists seem to be very hung up about it.
The majority of them are very kind and sincere people. They genuinely believe they are doing life-saving work by trying to convert people.
That has been my experience with them as well, though I have to say that to some extent it comes across as a creepy, Stepford Wives sort of kindness…
Some months ago I received an old-fashioned, handwritten letter in my mailbox from an extremely polite lady, with an impeccable handwriting, inviting me to think a bit about some metaphysical problems. She included some pamphlets as well. It was pretty clearly JW stuff, but I was actually quite impressed by their dedication, because they surely did not just write to me. I.e. they have teams of people writing out thousands of pamphlets by hand.
Anyway, I just had to reply (it had been many years since I had last received a handwritten letter!), so I made some comments on her comments, informed her that her metaphysical questions are not ones that have ever really bothered me but invited her to write me some more if she wanted to. I received a reply a month or two later - she was delighted to have received a reply. I have to guess it was probably the very first time ever that anyone replied to any of the letters she wrote.
She included some more pamphlets, including the customary anti-evolution ones. For some reason, the JWs are obsessed with evolution, and cannot pass up an opportunity to attack it. Of course, as you well know, their anti-evolution arguments vary from the naively uninformed to outright lying. I replied to the lady’s letter, informing her that seeing as I studied biology, I would not be fooled by those sort of arguments. I did remain very polite throughout, mind you, and even invited her to write some more if she wanted to.
She never did. Either she sadly gave up on my soul, or perhaps her handlers realized that if she kept up correspondence with me her own soul might be in danger (I am going to take a guess that she showed my replies to her superiors in the organization, who decided how to handle the situation.)
Anyway, that was my experience with the cult. I have always had something of a soft spot for them, because during the apartheid era their young men suffered very greatly for their refusal to be conscripted into the army. Most of them courageously stuck to their guns (er, so to speak) and were then arrested, and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment which were then commuted to six years of “community service.” After that, they would then have a criminal record. Years ago I worked in the then Department of Manpower, where we had a young JW serving his sentence. He did various types of admin work, at the same pay a conscript would get (basically just pocket money); presumably his family and church looked after him. He was extremely kind and decent, and in some ways a better man than I, who, like most young South Africans, did not have the guts it took to look the apartheid authorities in the eye and tell them to go screw themselves.
But you are nevertheless right: the JW are indeed members of an extremely dangerous cult, and South Africa is at the moment a very rich breeding ground. I see groups of them every morning when I take my walk. Interestingly, they mostly ignore me, focusing most of their efforts on black folks, probably realizing that black people are mostly poorer and less educated and therefore easier to suck into the cult.
I remain a bit perplexed that such an utterly evil cult can be made up by, on the whole, such exceptionally kind and decent people. As I mention above, there is something quite thoroughly creepy about it.