My best friend of 30 yrs. has been studying with JWs for (on & off) 9 yrs. She is now going to nearly every meeting and is a stone's throw from baptizm. We had a discussion on the blood law at lunch last week, which prompted her to send me an e-mail asking the following questions: 1.) If I told you to read Acts 15: 20, 29-Could you tell me for certain Jehovah is talking about animal blood and not ALL blood? My reply(in a nut-shell): It could be blood of ANY kind, I suppose, but how do you come to the conclusion that it means a blood transfusion, rather than EATing and DIGESTing it? 2.) I personally would not use any kind of blood in any way at all, that way I would not be in the wrong. My reply: That her personal choice to refuse ALL blood, is respected. But that is clearly not how the WT leaders view it in the How Can Blood Save Your Life? publication that SHE gave me. Page 27 allows blood fractions made from stored blood of many donors who are not JWs, yet JWs cannot donate blood or accept stored blood. Page 28 states tissue transplants are okay, Page 8 says that a blood transfusion is a tissue transplant. If stored blood is a bad thing, how is it okay to accept products made from stored blood? 3.) Can bet her eternal life on this only meaning animal blood? My reply: You seem to think my confusion revolves around the idea that this is about animal blood ONLY. That is not it. Based on the entire context of Acts 15, specifically vs. 9-11, isn't it clear that salvation is based on "faith" through "the grace of the Lord Jesus"? Is salvation by any other way, or the loss of it, mentioned anywhere in Acts 15? Doesn't this Scripture deal with issues of fellowship between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians? Circumcision wouldn't be as openly noticeable (for obvious reasons) but eating would. Couldn't it be that the dietary practices of the Gentiles would need addressed foremost, because they might be horrifying to the Jewish Christians, due to their strict adherence to the O.T. dietary laws? The same concept as discussed in Rom. 14 and 1 Cor. 8? But where in Acts does it imply that you will lose your salvation based on how you respond to the blood instruction? Could you explain how you came to that conclusion from these verses? Didn't Jehovah show His high regard for life by making exceptions for the blood rule? In Lev. 17:15-He said that they could eat an animal they did not kill and it had not been bled. In Lev. 11:39-40- Isn't it speaking as though the eating of a dead, un-bled animal was not an unforgiveable sin? In Deut. 14:21-He clearly told Israel NOT to eat a body that was already dead, but in Lev. 17:15-He gave instructions on what to do if they DID eat something dead. Wouldn't this be good to know, if you were facing the choice of eating something dead, or dying yourself? Jehovah gave them the right to choose life. Doesn't this imply that our lives our more important than observing the blood law? *Here is the answer, condensed version, that I got back: She called her JW guru who explained to her that some JWs think ALL blood is bad, some feel thet components are okay. The WT org. cannot tell you what to do. They merely want to adhere to Bible based principals and can't in good conscience say that blood transfusions are okay. The org. is there to give guidance, knowledge, and support. Tranfusions are up the individual. They do have rules, but when it comes down to it, you have free will. If someone repents of their actions, they are not disfellowshipped. HERE IS MY QUESTION TO YOU: Obviously, many of my questions--if not all--were completely avoided. Should I press her any further, or do you think I would be putting up a barrier between us? I am sure that a lot of what I asked makes sense to her, because she worked in a medical field and is familiar with how they separate blood to get a clotting fraction. I've been told that over-loading the JW with too much is not wise. Do you think I should drop it now? Do you think she has enough to absorb right now? I plan to ask about other areas of the belief as we go along, but I do not want to throw too much at her at once. I'm hoping she will ponder and process this information and come to her own conclusions. I would also like to take this moment to thank SKYMAN for the blessing of his blood letter, of which I borrowed some of for my last response. It is AWESOME! And thanks to all of the rest of you that I borrowed priceless information from in past posts: Blondie, Almost Athiest, and several others.
Advice:How far to press a JW for answers on blood?----and thanks to SKYMAN!
Thanks for this.
Looks like there was a little trouble with the format.
All I can do is parrot the words of others on the blood topic, but one point made to me early in the game was beautiful. The common JW illustration on eat-versus-transfuse is, "If a doctor told you not to drink alcohol, would he allow you to inject it into your veins?" This is a false analogy, since alcohol is a food, but blood is an organ. (I don't have references handy, but the Watchtower has called blood an organ, and quoted a doctor calling a transfusion a "blood transplant".) So the illustration would be more accurately worded:
"If a doctor told you not to eat liver, would he object to a liver transplant?"
I've told that to a few JW's, but nobody's been moved by it yet. :-( It sure caught my attention when I first heard it, though I was already out of dubdom.
She hasn't given me the "would you put alcohol in your veins" line of BS yet, but I am waiting for it to come up. I'm sure it will, unless she doesn't really buy it herself. That is a great comeback, and I am sure I will be using it in the future. A great way of looking at it. Thanks!
JW's are champions of equivocation when it comes to this issue.
One of my favorites is their use of the term "taking in." Invariably, they will use the generic term "taking in" to refer to both the consumption of blood and the transfusion of blood. (e.g. "The Creator's prohibition against taking in blood.)
The human body is not one system, but many. For example, there's a big difference between "taking in" water into your respiratory system (your lungs) versus "taking in" water into your digestive system. (your stomach.)
Drinking a glass of water and drowning are not comparable in anything other than what can be described with the most generic terms available. (e.g. Taking in.) Referring to two disparate acts with generic terms does not establish equivalency.
It is nothing more than semantic legerdemain and it serves no other purpose than to get around the fact that the blood prohibition is specific to the act of eating.