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Without fanfare, Jehovah’s Witnesses quietly soften position on blood transfusions

Exchange transfusion - series: MedlinePlus Medical EncyclopediaTom Blackwell, National Post Staff | Dec 20, 2012 9:59 PM ET

For years, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ fiercely held belief that blood transfusions are contrary to God’s will led to emotional and very public disputes, hospitals clashing with parents over whether to infuse sick children.

That long history of messy legal confrontations appears to be vanishing, however, amid changing approaches to the issue on both sides, health-care officials say.

The church’s ban on accepting blood still stands, but some major pediatric hospitals have begun officially acknowledging the parents’ unorthodox beliefs, while many Jehovah’s Witnesses are signing letters recognizing that doctors may sometimes feel obliged to transfuse, they say.

As institutions show more respect toward parents’ faith and try harder not to use blood, Witnesses often seem eager to avoid involving child-welfare authorities to facilitate transfusions, and more accepting that Canadian case law is firmly on the doctors’ side, some hospital officials say.

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21 comments to Without fanfare, Jehovah’s Witnesses quietly soften position on blood transfusions

  • ari m davies

    I am going to offer my opinion on blood transfusions as a person that was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and four years clung to what the society told us to cling to! I’m sure that infusing another person with blood is not a sin that Jehovah can’t forgive the Bible says that the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin so if there is anybody a child or an adult that absolutely must have a blood transfusion in order to live I would be right there to give the blood necessary to save this person’s life and if it’s a sin I will simply ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive me of that sin and rest in his word which says if I confess my sins he is faithful and just to forgive me of them and to cleanse me from all of my unrighteousness blood transfusions included! How dare we as humans cheapen the grace of Jesus Christ and dare to stand up on our righteousness and wave in front of Jesus Christ knows this one crown saying to the Lord Jesus Lord Jesus I refused a blood transfusion for your name or I refused a blood transfusion for my child. But yet I ignored your word that said you would forgive me of my sins and cleanse me of all unrighteousness if it was indeed a sin! Friends I speak to everybody Jehovah’s Witnesses and those that are not Jehovah’s Witnesses blood is sacred to Jehovah what is sacred to Jesus Christ let us not dare to spill it upon the ground by allowing a person to die when all we have to do is give a little bit of our blood and then walk in front of Jesus and say Jesus if what I did was a sin please forgive me let us leave this in Jesus hands like we’re supposed to and do what we are supposed to do offer our lives for our friends and for our enemies just as Jesus Christ commanded us to do!

    • greg (Bible Student)

      Hello again, ari m davies,

      I’m happy to hear from you again, and to see you post so many wonderful comments. I chose to respond to this one because I really enjoyed it’s simplicity and clarity. Thank you so much for sharing all your expressions. I’m confident that your words will have a greater impact in liberating and encouraging others than you will likely ever hear about.


  • just stay sweet and good

    The Law of Moses, that is binding on the Jews, required bathing and waiting till evening or morning, to be ceremonially clean (no blood sacrifice required) for these things:

    1. emission of semen Lev. 15:16
    2. sexual intercourse Lev. 15:18
    3. menstrual impurity Lev. 15:22
    4. eating a body [already] dead Lev.17:18 “he must be clean”
    in the case of:
    5. eating blood under dire circumstances 1 Sam. 14:34
    The leader Saul initiated sacrifice and repentance with blood

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Just stay sweet. I found your comments in pending. Certain words will land it there. I see you tried posting twice but I just came up from my garage cleaning all day and found it. Take Care. Eating blood was not a death sentence. Witnesses missed that sanctity of life is what God commands not sacrifice of lives, only Christ had to sacrifice his life.

  • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

    I am simply posting the link and a brief overview of what the link is about from another Blog. Not my words because I have long felt Jehovahs’ witnesses were guinea pigs for artificial blood and animal blood to be used on the battle field. Judge for yourself.

    Interesting!! Post from another blog (my addition, Jacqueline: see page 13, it mentions witnesses in the link)
    The Watchtower Society blood doctrine is intricately linked to clinical trials in blood technology. The WTS deliberately changes and manipulates the blood doctrine in order to fill the requirements for medical testing in the field of blood technology. It has been happening since the start of the blood ban and has continued for the last 70 years, leaving untold numbers of dead and maimed JWs in the wake of the Society’s quest for ‘everlasting life here on earth’.
    The search for the Holy Grail of the blood industry, artificial blood, is one that the Watchtower Society is heavily involved in.
    In 2000, when the Society announced their approval of Hemopure, their approval pre-dated the FDA approval for general use. The Society’s approval was put in place to satisfy the demands of clinical trials. The Society, along with its Hospital Liaison Committee, needed to fill their promise of providing lab rats for military research and for the promotion of Biopure blood substitutes. In 2000, Hemopure was being tested for safety and efficacy and it was the JWs who were offered up as lab rats to try it out – the Society’s approval was just that – they approved a sample group for medical research.
    In 2008, after a meta-analysis of the trials for Hemopure and other blood substitutes revealed the high rate of death and side effects, the FDA was involved in evaluating whether or not the clinical trials would proceed. They had stopped clinical trials because of high mortality rates in the subjects that had been given blood substitutes and the FDA had a panel of experts gathered to discuss the pros and cons of allowing artificial blood research to proceed.
    The following document reveals the complicity of the Watchtower Society in the push to proceed forward with a blood product that had questionable safety. The Watchtower Society was involved in the FDA hearing because they were offering up the JWs as a control group for the US military to continue the trials they had already been involved in.
    The Watchtower Society is giving its ‘politically neutral’ followers to the US military – instead of serving in uniform, the JWs get to serve their country in a different way – they can die as lab rats. And the reason the US Army and Navy want them for a control group? Well, Army medical personnel have to abide by the RESUS model – they have to resort to proven methods of resuscitation if the patient is on the verge of dying. In other words, if an Army doctor uses artificial blood on a patient, and they are dying, if real blood is available, they have to resort to using it. But, with a JW patient, they can continue to use the artificial blood until they die. Why this is important to the military is that it gives them a ‘base-line’ measurement – something that is impossible with any other group except the JWs.
    The Watchtower Society is, and has been for 70 years, using the blood doctrine to create a control group for medical research. And, they are in bed with the US Department of Defense in doing so. The JWs are being used for military purposes, with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Watchtower Society.
    This is a long document, over 300 pages.
    For your reading pleasure:

  • Jacqueline

    Some blood transfusions are allowed, some not. Very heavy, deep article.


  • Frank

    Interesting – and confusing for the poor publishers. When I was an elder, you cannot believe how many publishers asked me to help them “decide” on how they should fill out their “blood card” – the options are bewildering. And the Organization sticks with its default policy – these are the (current) options – “each person takes responsibility for his own choice”.

    Which, as many can attest, is double-speak for “you carry the can – irrespective of how we move the goalposts.”

    In effect the Organization uses the publishers as sacrificial lambs:
    – Organization makes policy
    – Publishers are ‘encouraged’ to obey. (The threat of disfellowshipping and/or losing Jehovah’s favour are powerful incentives, yes?)
    – Publishers who run into conflict with the Law are given “legal support’ – but each individual ‘lives with the consequences’
    – Organization benefits. Apparent ‘victories’ are publicised, to prod the faithful. Where things don’t work out, the publisher is either used as an example of a martyr, or as a warning.

    it’s the classic “Heads We Win, Tails You Lose” ploy. If you study Organization written policy, and have a legal background, you will immediately detect how it is very carefully cloaked in legalistic terms / methodology. Why? To protect the Organization. Maybe one day I’ll get round to telling you how an Organization policy flip-flop led to Bigamy.

  • Jacqueline

    This is the download of the 15 page article of the Awake magazine. It is painful but it should be posted to add to the Awake Front page above.

  • keepha

    They now think giving blood is a conscience matter?

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Keefa – Do you have any additional information on this?

    • Jacqueline

      I don’t know about giving blood Keepha. In some countries it is against the law for the society to punish in any way a member if they TAKE blood. In the US most publishers are not aware of these laws in other countries. Now if anyone take blood here you can repent like any other (sin), whereas in the past you were seized upon in the hospital and told not to, if you did you got disfellowshiped.

    • Erika

      From what I’ve been told by an JW elder is that all though they can not disfellowship you, the congregation elders consider a person disassociating themselves from the organization if they take a blood transfusion or authorize one for someone else that is in their immediate family. I guess a loop hole in the law of leaving it to an individual’s conscience.

      • Jacqueline

        Erika, such a life or death issue of blood transfusions or organ transplants, chemo therapy etc are medica.l issues not addressed in scriptures. These quirks are there for control and a marketing ploy to get him noticed ( Rutherford & Noah, Franz) and it worked.
        Everyone have birthdays but not all get married so he outlaws birthdays. It is about control. Jesus shed blood and blood over the doorpost in Egypt saved lives. In fact unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place and life results from our sons being forgiven. Please don’t fret but instead take it to God in prayer and if you feel you committed a sin ask for forgiveness in Jesus name and leave it at the foot of Jesus. The men that keep bothering you with this are company men for the governingbody to keep their members in fear of them.
        These men have no power over you, only what you allow. You are a grown woman, able to make your own medical decisions.
        Their additional laws means nothing. They have more than the law code like the Sanhedrin of Jesus day and he said they bind them on the people but won’t on themselves. These are just men like you. Take care and pray. Jacqueline

        • Erika

          Thanks for making me more comfortable about it. I have went back and forth about the matter for two years now. I appreciate you for that Jacqueline.

          • Jacqueline

            Erika you are so welcome, I am home now. I can’t imagine your pain over how you are treated because you took a blood transfusion. Erika I noticed something that it is mostly women and children that die from this issue of no blood transfusion. Brother generally will take it repent and you never hear about it. My father took 8 blood transfusions and dared them to do something about it.
            Erika pleas go to this link if you have a chance and read about the children that died before the governments of this world came to their aid.

            http://cftf.com/comments/kidsdied.html afterwards read the real life stories of parents that let their children die for the watchtower society (not God as he has no such prohibition). http://watchtowerlawsuit.com/
            I remember having this magazine in my hand and asking my mother if I was going to have to die once. I was so afraid as I had each of my children, you know that I was married to an elder and I knew he would be pressured to let my child die. With the youngest I had the hospital call a judge right away to take my child when it was suspected the spleen had ruptured. (you may remember this). But thankfully the judge didn’t have to intervene.
            Please follow the article to the bottom to see where vaccinations(again children) were once “prohibited”, by this I mean it was not a choice as some may still feel vaccines are harmful. Organ transplants were once prohibited until alledgedly higher ups needed them. Many died because of what men that wanted to controll their adherents for the vast profits the magazines brought in, also millions from the huge district conventions. I can give you the name of a secretary for one of the governingbody members that would take the count and record.
            Cremation was banned and my mother with nine children spent so much money on preserving and embalming my father because of this.
            Jehovah doesn’t want to bind you with all these little laws and quirks of these nine men. It’s purpose is to lead you to Christ. We are probably doing a lot of things that are not good for us but God allows us to do the best we can now.
            Roman 8:20-39 says all creation (man) on account of inherited sin are subjected fraility, mental, emotional, moral and physical weakness and hereditary death. But thanks to the shed blood of Christ we will have (all mankind) redemption. Then he will (under the kingdom) bring the body to perfection and there will be no need for the many medical procedures that help us to be sustained now.

  • Jacqueline

    What a beautiful story, just thought I would share. This is the rest of the story. So many are so sorry they let their children die, since now it is a conscience matter.


    • Just stay sweet and good

      Just a thought. Please correct me if you think
      It’s not correct. In Rev 2:20 it speaks of the
      Sin of Jezebel being at work. It was undo influence
      “Teaches and misleads my slaves”. Spiritual
      And literal fornication as well as idolatry which
      Is personal pride in our selfs. We have a tendency to want
      To be right at all costs instead of just righteous.
      Jezebel’s religion was Baal and they sacrificed
      Their babies to appease a mean God something
      Our loving God Jehovah would never ask a mother
      to do. At Lev. 20:1-5 Jehovah Condemned those
      Who “hide their eyes from that man who gives
      His offspring to Molech”. This shows not only are we
      Not to do it we are obligated to speak out against
      It. No neutral territory here. Speak means
      Be verbal. Ezk 3. We should not support undo
      Influence but speak the truth in love. Our influence
      In this world should always be “It is written”

    • Just stay sweet and good

      It can’t really be a conscience matter if you
      Do take blood and then they have a meeting
      With you to force you to say you did something
      Wrong. You can’t have it both ways. Heb 5:12,
      1Cor 4:6, James 4:17, and now in these last
      Days Malachi 3:18

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