Somehow the first few paragraphs didnt come up on my original post yesterday, so I am reposting it again.
Having had a JW friend die last year after giving birth in a hospital in southern
The official position of the Watch Tower Society, developed during the Second, World War, is that if one of Jehovah’s Witnesses accepts such alternative service he has “compromised”, has broken integrity with God. ...Since it [alternative service] is offered in place of military service and since military service involves (potentially at least) the shedding of blood, then anyone accepting the substitute becomes “blood guilty”... In obedience to this policy over the years literally thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses in different countries around the world have gone to prison rather than accept provisions for alternative service. There are Witnesses in prison right now in for this reason. Failure to adhere to the Society’s policy would mean being viewed automatically as “disassociated” and being treated the same as being disfellowshiped...
From...November 1977 until February 1980 the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses had tried on six separate occasions to resolve the issue without success...the inability of the Governing Body to achieve that indispensable two-thirds majority meant that male Jehovah’s Witnesses in any country who acted according to their conscience and accepted alternate service as a proper government requirement, could still do so only at the cost of being viewed as outside the organization, equivalent to expelled persons. (pp. 101, 102, 131)
Sadly, many JW’s as well as Watchtower apologist are not aware of what happened and what was being taught, and how this change in the WT of 1996 that had been so dogmatically taught for 60 years affected many of their own brothers and sisters worldwide. The 1996 article made no mention of the previous stand and its change from the stand previous to that, and many current witnesses are unaware of the organizations 3 different positions over the years on this issue. One can only wonder, if the JW community was educated about this and other issues, how many would still view the Watchtower organization as being the ‘sole channel of God?” How many would be willing to face imprisonment, or even death, for something that men teach and change positions on but the bible says nothing about?
Consider too, the teaching on vaccinations:
Starting in the year 1929, the Watchtower religion started its ban on the medical use of vaccinations. In the May 1, 1929 issue of the magazine, The Golden Age, the Watchtower stated, "Thinking people would rather have smallpox than vaccination, because the latter sows seeds of syphilis, cancers, eczema, erysipelas, scrofula, consumption, even leprosy and many other loathsome affections. Hence the practice of vaccinations is a crime, an outrage, and a delusion."( p. 502).
Reasons why vaccination is unscriptural...Vaccination is a direct violation of the Everlasting Covenant that God made with Noah after the flood…"
(The Golden Age 1931 February 4 p. 293)
"As vaccination is a direct injection of animal matter in the blood stream, vaccination is a direct violation of the law of Jehovah God."
(The Golden Age 1935 April 2 p. 465)
"Vaccination is a direct violation of the holy law of Jehovah God… I have no alternative. I must obey Jehovah’s law."
(The Golden Age 1935 April 24 p. 471—quoting court testimony of Maria Braught)
"Oh, yes, serums vaccines, toxins, inoculations, are all -harmless', because the man who is selling them says so. You, my friends, believe this LIE, and continue to submit your body to these violations; then all I can say is, ‘God have mercy on your soul'… All vaccination is unphysiological a crime against nature."
(Consolation 1939 May 31 p. 8)
However, in 1952, the Watchtower reversed its policy.
"After consideration of the matter it (vaccination) does not appear to us to be in violation of the everlasting covenant made with Noah, as set down in Genesis 9:4, nor contrary to God-s related commandment at Leviticus 17:10-14… Hence all objection to vaccination on Scriptural grounds is lacking… The matter of vaccinations is one for the individual that has to face it to decide for himself.”
(The Watchtower 1952 December 15 p. 764)
Thus, from 1929 to the year 1952, witness families were not vaccinating their children do to what the Governing Body was telling them to do, only to be another example of a medical policy that effected the very lives of a JW and the innocent children of JW’s that also was reversed. Much like the current Blood policy, vaccinations where described to the faithful JW community as “unscriptural’ and that ‘thinking people would rather have smallpox” it was a “direct violation of the law of Jehovah’ ‘a crime against nature” and a “direct violation of the Everlasting Covenant.” How many Witnesses life’s, especially the life’s of innocent children, were destroyed between 1929 and 1952 because of a ruling by an autocratic body of men? Why would a JW today, after knowing that the WT religion has had a pattern of giving false and misleading information about what God requires, would continue to follow blindly the current teaching about life saving blood transfusions, which according to America's Blood Centers, (ABC) saves four and a half million people a year in the United States alone? How many logical people would follow to death an organizational policy that has lead to countless deaths by an organization that has a well documented history of religious and medical changes in position, all the while claiming to be Gods spokesman, and the only approved organization used by God to dispense truth?
On Organ Transplants:
Also of interest to this study are organ transplants, which the Watchtower taught its members was the same as cannibalism, and something the Bible and Jehovah forbids. This also, serves in history as a clear example of the Watchtower religions sanctions against medical practices that saved countless lives, that was after years being banned, reversed, with no apology to the many JW’s who faithfully abided by what they thought was “truth.” For example, note some of what the WT stated in 1967 and 1974, 1977 and the reversal in the year 1980.
*** w67 11/15 p. 702 Questions from Readers ***
When men of science conclude that this normal process will no longer work and they suggest removing the organ and replacing it directly with an organ from another human, this is simply a shortcut. Those who submit to such operations are thus living off the flesh of another human. That is cannibalistic. However, in allowing man to eat animal flesh Jehovah God did not grant permission for humans to try to perpetuate their lives by cannibalistically taking into their bodies human flesh, whether chewed or in the form of whole organs or body parts taken from others.
*** g74 3/22 p. 23 My Life as a Surgeon ***
Because of what I have reason to believe is the Creator’s view of organ transplants, I have serious reservations as to their Scriptural propriety. Yes, we cannot leave the Creator out of surgery.
Blood transfusions are organ transplants: " . . . many a person might decline blood simply because it is essentially an organ transplant that at best is only partially compatible with his own blood." Jehovah's Witnesses and the Question of Blood, 1977, p. 41.
However, this teaching as well, something very close to the blood issue, since BLOOD IS AN ORGAN, was reversed as well in the year 1980, when this practice that has saved many lives was permitted and made a ‘personal decision’, no longer subjected to a member being disfellowshipped by a judicial committee. In fact, despite the Governing Body for years forbidding organ transplants and members facing disfellowshipping, the witnesses were then told that there in fact was no biblical command forbidding the taking in of human tissue. How many Witnesses lives were destroyed between 1967 and 1980 because of a ruling by an autocratic body of men who choice to go beyond that which is written and impose upon the JW community regulations nowhere spoken of in scripture? Note now the reversal of this doctrine.
*** w80 3/15 p. 31 Questions from Readers ***
Clearly, personal views and conscientious feelings vary on this issue of transplantation. It is well known that the use of human materials for human consumption varies all the way from minor items, such as hormones and corneas, to major organs, such as kidneys and hearts. While the Bible specifically forbids consuming blood, there is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue. For this reason, each individual faced with making a decision on this matter should carefully and prayerfully weigh matters and then decide conscientiously what he or she could or could not do before God. It is a matter for personal decision. (Gal. 6:5) The congregation judicial committee would not take disciplinary action if someone accepted an organ transplant.
How many Witnesses lives were shattered in the years 1967 to the year 1980 due to this WT policy that was clearly giving false and unbiblical information? How many brothers and sisters died from not being able to have an organ transplant during these years and who died needlessly, much like the many brothers and sisters are dying today do to the ‘current truth’ the Watchtower is teaching about blood transplants, which is different from year to year as the approved list of fractions grows?
On blood and on fractions of blood being used
What most JW’s do not know, is that prior to 1961, the Watchtower organization correctly understood the biblical position on blood, namely that the bible forbid the use of blood as food, something to be EATEN, and did not speak to the modern medical issue of life saving transfusion! This is clearly seen in a QFR section in the Watchtower of 1958.
*** w58 9/15 575 Questions from Readers ***
Are we to consider the injection of serums ó such as diphtheria toxin antitoxin and blood fractions such as gamma globulin into the blood stream, for the purpose of building up resistance to disease by means of antibodies, the same as the drinking of blood or the taking of blood or blood plasma by means of transfusion?—N. P., United States.
No, it does not seem necessary that we put the two in the same category, although we have done so in times past. Each time the prohibition of blood is mentioned in the Scriptures it is in connection with taking it as food, and so it is as a nutrient that we are concerned with in its being forbidden. Thus when mankind for the first time was permitted to eat the flesh of animals, at the time of the restatement of the procreation mandate to the Deluge survivors, blood was specifically forbidden. (Gen. 9:3, 4) In the law of Moses blood was forbidden as food, and therefore we repeatedly find it linked with fat as things not to be eaten. (Lev. 3:17; 7:22-27) And so also in the days of the apostles; it was in connection with eating meat sacrificed to idols that the eating of strangled animals and blood was forbidden.—Acts 15:20, 29.
Thus it is not the case that the WT does not understand what the bible says about this issue, its simply that they have chosen to go beyond what the bible says and the limit that they have acknowledged that the bible teaches to impose burdens upon the JW community that are clearly not in the bible!
Note, however, other past statements from the Governing Body in the Watchtower about blood and blood fractions and the Christians stand in using them. Up until 1961, articles were written that were both positive and negative about blood transfusions, however, no action was taken against any witness who received a transfusion. For example, in 1950 a letter was published to a publisher where it is seen that the Governing Body and consequently all elders would not take any ‘spiritual action,’ meaning disfellowshipping, upon the publishers who took blood.
*** w50 5/1 143 Letter ***
“FURTHER ON BLOOD TRANSFUSION”
February 3, 1950
Yours of December 16 has not had previous attention for press of business here.
Your frank statement concerning blood transfusion is appreciated, and for it we are not taking any spiritual action against you or against anyone else, but must let the great Lawgiver be your Judge, as He is ours. Our published statements concerning this matter are something owing to those who look to us for spiritual guidance, and are not issued to cause division among Jehovah’s people. Repeatedly we are confronted with requests for information on blood transfusion, particularly for us to pronounce a sanction of this medical practice. This is so general that for the information of all, that they may know our position, we were obliged to make a statement upon the matter. Our statements have not caused any more division of opinion upon the subject than existed before we said anything about it. It is only that we have made ourselves clear upon the matter, so that others in doubt as to our position will not be pleading with us to sanction their resort to this disputed medical practice. If anyone thinks there is merit to our position and that it has Scriptural support and chooses to be guided by it, all right; but if contrariwise, then that is such one’s responsibility before God. He cannot claim taking a certain course because of ignorance of what we scripturally believe upon the subject.
Also, this stand is seen in the WT of 1958, where we see that although some sanctions could be taken by the congregation, along with viewing the person taking the transfusion as immature Christians, yet disfellowshipping the member was not an option for the elders.
*** w58 8/1 478 Questions from Readers ***
One of Jehovah’s witnesses who claims to ó be of the anointed remnant recently went to the hospital and took a blood transfusion, voluntarily. Should she be allowed to partake of the emblems of bread and wine at Memorial time?—R. J., .
We, of course, regret with you that this sister who professes to be one of the anointed remnant took a blood transfusion voluntarily during her stay in the hospital. We believe that she did the wrong thing contrary to the will of God. However, congregations have never been instructed to disfellowship those who voluntarily take blood transfusions or approve them. We let the judgment of such violators of God’s law concerning the sacredness of blood remain with Jehovah, the Supreme Judge. The only thing that can be done in the cases of individuals like this is to view them as immature and therefore not capable of taking on certain responsibilities, hence refusing to make certain assignments of service to such ones.
All this changed in the year 1961, when in January the Governing Body decided that disfellowshipping members for this practice was allowable, and that now the scriptures teach this, where as pre-1961 the organization reasoned that this matter was f each Christian to decide personally.
*** w61 1/15 63 Questions from Readers ***
In view of ó the seriousness of taking blood into the human system by a transfusion, would violation of the Holy Scriptures in this regard subject the dedicated, baptized receiver of blood transfusion to being disfellowshiped from the Christian congregation?
The inspired Holy Scriptures answer yes.
Also, in 1961 no fractions of Blood could be allowable, as seen in the following three articles from 1961.
*** w61 9/15 p. 559 Respect for the Sanctity of Blood ***
19 In view of the emphasis put on the use of blood in the medical world, new treatments involving its use are constantly being recommended. But regardless of whether it is whole blood or a blood fraction, whether it is blood taken from one’s own body or that taken from someone else, whether it is administered as a transfusion or as an injection, the divine law applies. God has not given man blood to use as he might use other substances; he requires respect for the sanctity of blood.
*** w61 9/15 p. 558 Respect for the Sanctity of Blood ***
16 Is God’s law violated by such medical use of blood? Is it wrong to sustain life by infusions of blood or plasma or red cells or the various blood fractions? Yes! The law that God gave to Noah and which applies to all his descendants makes it wrong for anyone to eat blood, that is, to use the blood of another creature to nourish or sustain one’s life.
*** w61 11/1 p. 669 Questions from Readers ***
In the case of other products, a similar procedure may be followed. If you have reason to believe that a certain product contains blood or a blood fraction, ask the one who sells it. If he does not know, write to the manufacturer. Sometimes labels show whether a blood fraction is used, but not always. For example, a label may say that a certain product contains albumin. Does that mean that it contains a blood fraction? Look up the word albumin in a good reference book, perhaps an encyclopedia in your local library or even a good dictionary. You will learn that albumin is found, not only in blood serum, but also in milk and eggs. The only way to find out the source of the albumin in the particular product in question is to make inquiry of those who prepare it. However, if the label says that certain tablets contain hemoglobin, similar checking will reveal that this is from blood; so a Christian knows, without asking, that he should avoid such a preparation.
All this changed when the June 15th 2000 WT stated, “"...when it comes to fractions of any of the primary components, each Christian, after careful and prayerful meditation, must conscientiously decide for himself."
This new change in the Watchtowers position on fractions of blood being moved on to the allowable personal decisions a witness can make is even clarified in more detail in the brochure, “How Can Blood Save Your Life?” The following is an extraction from this brochure.
WITNESS POSITION ON THERAPY
Jehovah's Witnesses accept medical and surgical treatment. In fact, scores of them are physicians, even surgeons. But Witnesses are deeply religious people who believe that blood transfusion is forbidden for them by Biblical passages such as: "Only flesh with its soul—its blood—you must not eat" (Genesis 9:3-4); "[You must] pour its blood out and cover it with dust" (Leviticus 17:13-14); and "Abstain from . . . fornication and from what is strangled and from blood" (Acts 15:19-21).1
While these verses are not stated in medical terms, Witnesses view them as ruling out transfusion of whole blood, packed RBCs, and plasma, as well as WBC and platelet administration. However, Witnesses' religious understanding does not absolutely prohibit the use of components such as albumin, immune globulins, and hemophiliac preparations; each Witness must decide individually if he can accept these.2
Witnesses believe that blood removed from the body should be disposed of, so they do not accept autotransfusion of predeposited blood. Techniques for intraoperative collection or hemodilution that involve blood storage are objectionable to them. However, many Witnesses permit the use of dialysis and heart-lung equipment (non-blood-prime) as well as intraoperative salvage where the extracorporeal circulation is uninterrupted; the physician should consult with the individual patient as to what his conscience dictates. The Witnesses do not feel that the Bible comments directly on organ transplants; hence, decisions regarding cornea, kidney, or other tissue transplants must be made by the individual Witness.
So the Governing Body of the Watchtower organization completely reversed itself again on the blood issue, by allowing the use of fractions of blood to be a personal decision of each JW. All members are free now from the spiritual sanctions that the organization started in 1958 by allowing some sanctions, and in 1961, allowing disfellowshipping, for any Christian who took either whole blood or fractions of the four primary components. All the JW’s who died from not being able to have life sustaining blood fractions had they lived after 1961, or before 2000, would now again be free to make that personal choice. How many Witnesses lives were destroyed in the decades up to the year 2000 because of a ruling by an autocratic body of men on if a JW could take a blood fraction, and today on exactly which blood fractions a JW can take and still have Jehovah’s (or the organizations) approval? Thus, the Witnesses have been since 1980 are taught that organ transplants are a personal choice, since “the Bible specifically forbids consuming blood, there is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue.” Most witnesses today, however, have either forgotten or are entirely unaware of the Watchtower religions previous ban on organ transplants. The many topics covered in this article have revealed only a small part of the organizations pattern of complete reversals on doctrine, with the focus here on medical issues that the Governing Body has felt the need to impose official church creed on the organizations members. I personally see that the organization knows that this, much like its doctrine on the 1914 generation doctrine which was reversed in 1995, will also one day slowly fade away, and the Watchtower will slowly keep adding all the separate fractions of the four primary components of blood, until all the fractions and the components will be on the ‘approved list’ and eventually the use of blood for a transfusion also will be simply a conscience matter, with future generations of witnesses simply not knowing or forgetting that it was once a disfellowshipping act, much as organ transplants, alternative civil services, and the current allowable blood fraction list is. The only ones who will be affected will be the brothers and sisters who suffered from these policies, or whose family members died or were imprisoned from them. Those JW’s who question them and who criticize the organization will be seen as spiritually weak, and possible organizational sanctions could be made, or the individual will simply leave.
In allowing certain blood fractions to be used, the Watchtower has already taken the first steps to slowly do away with its disfellowshipping practice for the use of life saving blood. After sanctioning certain fractions of blood donated and stored by non-witnesses donors, (since witnesses are not allowed to donate blood but only take from fractions of donated blood) the Watchtower is showing that their stand since 1961 against fractions has been wrong. Over the next decade no doubt the Governing Body will continue to increase the allowable fractions for the JW community, and will no doubt continue in the same pattern noted in the above examples of alternative military services, organ transplants, and vaccinations. Eventually the current ban against the medical use of the four primary components of blood, as well as whole blood, will likely be lifted, much as was done recently with the fractions that come from human blood.
Perhaps one example that we might soon see with blood can be seen in the reversal on organ transplant. In the same way that the Watchtower, after its 14 year stand against Witnesses taking organ transplants, along with teaching that they are cannibalism, stated in a Q of A in 1980 that they are really not forbidden at all by the bible, by stating..
*** w80 3/15 p. 31 Questions from Readers *** “While the Bible specifically forbids consuming blood, there is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue.”
We could easily see a future Watchtower article that says something along those same terms,
“While the Bible specifically forbids consuming blood, there is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the use of blood in a life saving transfusion of blood.”
Or perhaps as stated in the blood brochure, we might see some similar wording written to do away with the no blood teaching since 1961. Note that the Blood brochure stated…
“The Witnesses do not feel that the Bible comments directly on organ transplants; hence, decisions regarding cornea, kidney, or other tissue transplants must be made by the individual Witness.”
A future Watchtower article, in like manner, might state..
“The Witnesses do not feel that the Bible comments directly on blood transfusions, but only on eating blood; hence, decisions regarding whole blood transplants or any of its four primary components and fractions of those components must be made by the individual Witness.”
Of course, most of the members would go along with this change, or ‘new light’ and the many Watchtower apologists online would defend it and praise the organization for following divine direction. Watchtower apologist would continue to attack honest critics who are pointing out facts about the Watchtowers teachings being both dishonest and unbiblical, with proof taken directly from the Watchtowers own publications taken to establish it.
However, there are several other logical issues about this that the Governing Body is still not honest with the JW’s about, and is teaching contradictive doctrines simultaneously.
First, the Watchtower teaches that
A: Organ transplants are a personal decision
B: A blood transplant is an organ transplant
C: A blood transplant is NOT a personal decision
(From point B above)
*** g90 10/22 p. 9 Gift of Life or Kiss of Death? ***
As cardiovascular surgeon Denton Cooley notes: “A blood transfusion is an organ transplant. . . . I think that there are certain incompatibilities in almost all blood transfusions.”
*** g99 8/22 p. 31 Are Blood Transfusions Really Necessary? ***
Blood is an organ of the body, and blood transfusion is nothing less than an organ transplant.”
Blood transfusions are organ transplants: " . . . many a person might decline blood simply because it is essentially an organ transplant that at best is only partially compatible with his own blood." Jehovah's Witnesses and the Question of Blood, 1977, p. 41. (This article was published between 1967 and 1980 when the organ transplant ban was enacted)
Thus, since the Watchtower organization currently allows an organ transplant as being simply a conscience matter, but at the same time recognizes along with the scientific and medical community that blood is actually a liquid organ, upon what logical basis can the Watchtower allow one, yet ban another simply based on the stipulation of its being a solid or liquid organ.
Perhaps one of the most outstanding aspect of this study is that the Watchtowers current contradictive position on leukocytes. Also called white blood cells, leukocytes are made in the bone marrow. When they are mature, they are released into the bloodstream, where they fight off infections. White blood cells are clear round cells that are bigger than red blood cells. White blood cells produce proteins called antibodies that help our bodies fight infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and foreign proteins. As of this writing, in August 2005, they are prohibited to the Witnesses community. Only two to three percent of leukocytes in the human body are in the blood system. In fact, 97-98 percent is found in the tissue of the body, forming the body’s immune system. Thus, leukocytes are found primarily in the ORGANS of the human body, not in the blood. The organization, therefore, does allow leukocytes since solid organ transplants after the year 1980 are permitted among the faithful, while the liquid organ that contains leukocytes is not. Also of interest is that a human mother’s milk contains leukocytes, and as much as twelve times more than found in human blood. Thus, the Watchtowers position is again found to be wanting, since it does allow organ transplant that contain leukocytes, nevertheless prohibits it as a fraction of blood. Thus, although the Watchtower does prohibit it to faithful JW’s to boost the immune system in a transfusion of a liquid organ, God has allowed it to be given to infants by their mothers.
Over the years, and recently, the organization has repeatedly stated that it follows the biblical teaching found in Acts 15:28-29, and that it abstains from blood completely. In 1961 the organization stated..
*** w61 9/15 p. 558 Respect for the Sanctity of Blood ***
16 Is God’s law violated by such medical use of blood? Is it wrong to sustain life by infusions of blood or plasma or red cells or the various blood fractions? Yes! The law that God gave to Noah and which applies to all his descendants makes it wrong for anyone to eat blood, that is, to use the blood of another creature to nourish or sustain one’s life.
Thus the WT maintains that one must not use the blood of another ‘creature’ to nourish or sustain ones life! Interestingly, the biblical verses quoted by the WT have to do with animals, not humans, thus the WT will often use the term ‘creature’ which can also apply to humans, or members of creation, to broaden the biblical words. Also with respect to the storing of human blood, the WT quotes Deuteronomy 12:24, which has to do with the eating of the meat of animals that have been killed such as the gazelle and the stag, and applies this to the blood of humans that are living.
We have long appreciated that such stored blood certainly is no longer part of the person. It has been completely removed from him, so it should be disposed of in line with God’s Law: “You should pour it out upon the ground as water.”—Deuteronomy 12:24.
Clearly in this matter the WT is showing willful negligence for the context of the bible. In quoting verses from the Mosaic Law, a law that it admits else ware as no long having force upon Christians, as well as in quoting a verse out of context that was applicable to sacrificed animals, not living human donors, the WT is showing carelessness for the larger context of the bible. Yet, the current WT position does allow for blood to be used for human use, despite the claim that all Christians must follow the biblical mandate of ‘abstaining from blood!”
As late as 1975, JW’s who were hemophiliacs were not allowed by the organization to use blood particles in therapy, including blood plasma and derivatives containing blood factors (Awake!, 2/22/75, p.30).
This also changed in the year 1978, when the organization again reversed its position, thus allowing hemophiliacs the medical help they needed.
*** w78 6/15 30-1 Questions from Readers ***
What, however, about accepting serum injections to fight against disease, such as are employed for diphtheria, tetanus, viral hepatitis, rabies, hemophilia and Rh incompatibility? This seems to fall into a ‘gray area.’ Some Christians believe that accepting a small amount of a blood derivative for such a purpose would not be a manifestation of disrespect for God’s law; their conscience would permit such. (Compare Luke 6:1-5.) Others, though, feel conscientiously obliged to refuse serums because these contain blood, though only a tiny amount. Hence, we have taken the position that this question must be resolved by each individual on a personal basis. We urge each one to strive to have a clear conscience and to be responsive to God’s guidance found in His Word.—Ps. 119:105.
Thus the WT does allow for JW’s to use publicly donated stored blood that has not been poured out. Since permitted hemophiliac treatments require collection and storage of massive quantities of blood (up to 2,500 units for a single treatment), why does the WTS forbid JW’s from storing their own blood?
In the year 1984, the May 15th Watchtower allowed JW’s to have bone marrow transplants, the very source of red blood cells. However, the article, although allowing it to be a personal decision, spoke of it in a negative light.
Since the organization allows for the use of a “small amount of a blood derivative,” along with the approved fraction list of albumin, immunoglobins, interferons, interleukins, serums, clotting and healing factors, hemophiliac preparations, as well as allowing bone marrow transplants, it is showing that its position is contradictive, since these are all allowable by the WT, yet they all have a small amount of blood or are the components of donated human blood. Thus, witnesses really do not abstain from blood at all. Also, in allowing JW’s currently to accept fractions of the four major components of blood, namely, white blood cells, red blood cells, plasma, and platelets, it is showing that it has began to accept blood. In addition, one must ask, “Where do the approved fractions of blood come from?” The answer is simple, from the stored supply of human blood banks, and from human donors. Thus, the organization, although not allowing its members to give blood donations, and teaching that blood must be poured out on the ground in line with the Mosaic Law, yet accepts blood that has not been poured out and that has been stored! In reality, the Witnesses are no longer abstaining from blood, but are now going through a legalistic period of the WT slowly backing out of its NO BLOOD teaching, based upon a willful negligence or the context and the meaning of the biblical teaching of the eating of animal blood.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY TEACH ABOUT BLOOD?
According to the method of handling blood prescribed by the Bible, blood when taken from an ANIMAL was to be poured out on the ground as water and covered over with dust. (Lev. 17:13,14; Deut. 12:16,23, 24; 15:23; 1 Chron. 11:18,19) The bible teaches a respect for blood, teaching that the soul is in the blood.
*** Rbi8 Leviticus 17:13-14 ***
“‘As for any man of the sons of Israel or some alien resident who is residing as an alien in YOUR midst who in hunting catches a wild beast or a fowl that may be eaten, he must in that case pour its blood out and cover it with dust. 14 For the soul of every sort of flesh is its blood by the soul in it. Consequently I said to the sons of : “YOU must not eat the blood of any sort of flesh, because the soul of every sort of flesh is its blood. Anyone eating it will be cut off.
In the context of every command to abstain from blood, the command was for the person to not EAT the blood, because the blood is what gave the life. A transfusion of blood is not eating the blood, since it does not pass into the human digestive system. Thus, the use of life saving blood to save the life of a human is not articulated in the bible, and forbidding its use in the medical field is to “go beyond what is written” in the bible as compulsory for Christians.
Undoubtedly, the principal text employed by the WT is that at Acts 15:28, 29, which states, “For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to YOU, except these necessary things, to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If YOU carefully keep yourselves from these things, YOU will prosper. Good health to YOU!”
The proper question we need to examine, therefore, is what was the context of those words? Since there is a verb missing before the term blood, what does the context say? The council was formed to deal with the effort of some to demand that gentile Christians not only be circumcised, but also that they “observe the law of Moses.” Peter, in verse 10, describes the Law of Moses as a burdensome “yoke.” In verse 19, James shows that it was these gentile converts, or “those from the nations” that need not be burdened with the Law of Moses, but that they might abstain from
1. Things sacrificed to idols
3. Things strangled
Thus, James showed that gentile converts did not have to be circumcised, but they did need to abstain from certain practices from Leviticus chapter 17 and 18. Leviticus 17:8, 10 shows that God intended the information to be followed by both the man of as well as the alien resident who lived in . James’ listing in Act 15 not only is the same items found in Leviticus chapter 17 and 18, but also follows the same exact order.
1. Abstain from idolatrous practices. Leviticus 17:7-9
2. Abstain from eating blood. Leviticus 17:10-14
3. Abstain from unbled animals. Leviticus 17: 15
4. Abstain from all sorts of fornication. Leviticus 18:6-23
Thus the reading of James’ words found in Acts 15 need to be understood in the context and historic setting that they were originally quoted from. Unmistakably the gentiles were to “abstain” from blood, not in some all-embracing sense, but in the specific sense written about in Leviticus 17, namely, the eating of the blood of animals that was abhorrent to the Jews in the land. Since the gentiles did condone idolatry, the eating of blood and unbled animals, and condoned sexual practices such as temple prostitution in places of worship, James instruction to the gentiles focused on the areas of gentile practice that would have resulted in creating great friction and cause for offence to the Jews. Moses had not required circumcision for alien residences and so neither did James. This was council that was written for a specific circumstance at the time in that period of history. To lift this context out of both history and scripture as the WT has done is to impose a meaning upon it not intended by its author.
1 Peter 2:11 tells us that we need to ‘abstain from fleshly desires.” But that does not mean that we need to keep from fleshly desires in the absolute sense! Otherwise, we would not eat, sleep, breath, and many other natural fleshly desires that are necessary for life and which are perfectly good. We must apply the term ‘abstain’ to the context Peter meant it, namely, to the harmful and sinful desires we have. In like manner, gentile Christians were to “abstain” from EATING blood. This scripture has been ripped out of its historic scriptural context and been forced to apply to today’s life saving practice of using blood in a way that does show respect for life, in that blood is being used to prolong life in cases of accidents and diseases. A blood transfusion is not in any way eating or feeding on blood, since the blood does not pass into the mouth or digestive system, but goes directly into the circulatory system, thus the bibles words at Act 15 should not be a binding force imposed upon Christians for the life saving practice of blood transfusions.
In allowing witnesses to die before accepting blood or the four main components of blood, the Watchtower is showing a pharisaical and legalistic pattern much like that which Christ condemns in the New Testament. As one writer of the WT correctly tells us…
*** g79 6/8 28 Why the Emphasis on Christian Freedom? ***
To exchange Jewish legalism for Christian freedom, therefore, constitutes a denial of Christian faith.
Thus we would not expect that the WT itself is applying a very legalist view of the bible upon the JW community! Yet in our examination thus far, we have seen that the WT is indeed doing just that. By allowing JW’s to take from the donated blood supply, yet not give blood to that supply, is showing a double standard. In dictating to the Witnesses what parts of blood that they can accept and which they cannot, the WT is going well beyond the biblical command not to eat blood and are now spiraling out of control in defining which parts of blood a person can accept without organizations sanctions. The bible, of course does not make such articulations about blood. Note the June 15th, 2001 QFR article in which it is claimed that Gods law is not open to any reform or shifting opinions, all the while the Watchtower has been reforming and shifting its position.
Do Jehovah's Witnesses accept any medical products derived from blood?
The fundamental answer is that Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept blood. We firmly believe that God’s law on blood is not open to reform to fit shifting opinions. Still, new issues arise because blood can now be processed into four primary components. In deciding whether to accept such, a Christian should look beyond possible medical benefits and risks. His concern should be what the Bible says and the potential effect on his relationship with Almighty God. ….
Just as blood plasma can be a source of various fractions, the other primary components (red cells, white cells, platelets) can be processed to isolate smaller parts. For example, white blood cells may be a source of interferons and interleukins, used to treat some viral infections and cancers. Platelets can be processed to extract a wound healing factor. And other medicines are coming along that involved (at least initially) extracts from blood components. Such therapies are not transfusions of those primary components; they usually involve parts or fractions thereof. Should Christians accept these fractions in medical treatment? We cannot say. The Bible does not give details, so a Christian must make his own conscientious decision before God.
Interestingly, this WT article tells us that Witnesses do not accept blood, but that witnesses do now accept fractions of blood. However, the only way to get that fraction of blood is to accept blood from human donors, since the fractions come from Blood! Also, we are told that since ‘the bible does not give details” about the usage of the many fractions of the four major components of blood, a witness can make his own conscientious decision before God about this. However, a thinking JW might after reading this article wonder where the bible does “give details” about the four major components that are banned by the WT. If the reason that JW can now accept fractions of the four components of blood is because no mention of this is made by the bible, and thus the WT does not address this issue, then why cannot also the Christian accept as a conscience decision the four major components that make up blood, since in like manner, the bible does not address this issue? Does this not smack of legalism and a going beyond what is written while at the same time claiming not to have?
In Christ day, the religious leaders who ran what was thought to be ‘God’s organization,” namely the Jews, also held very legalistic views. In his time, the Jews, much like the Watchtower organization, wrote countless volumes of interpretative publications that held the same authority as the bible itself, called the “Mishna.” Those publications were look upon and examined for understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures much in the same way Witnesses are taught to look to the Watchtower publications for the correct understanding of the bible. The watchtower is also guilty, as noted above in many examples, of going beyond the clearly articulated beliefs in scripture and adding laws to the witnesses community concerning health care, and in many cases later completely reversing those teachings that were taught to be Gods laws. It was not uncommon in Christ day for the Pharisees being self appointed to the seat of Moses to view their wrongful interpretations of the Mosaic Law to be more important than the life of a human. Christ many times corrected them about the value of life. There misinterpretation of the Law resulted in Christ correcting them about eating wheat on the Sabbath, (Mark 2:23-27) as well as healing on the Sabbath. (Mark 3:1-5) Christ also argued that while that law did in fact teach that no work should be done on the sabbath, if a sheep needed to be pulled out of a pit on the sabbath, (Matt 12:9-12) or if a bull needed to be given water on the sabbath, it would be done, (Luke 13:14-15) and since even the legalistic Pharisees would do this, how much more worth is the life of a human than a bull or a sheep! For Christ clearly recognized that human life was what the Sabbath was created for the sake of, to allow a human to rest and restore its health. Thus, Christ stated that “The sabbath came into existence for the sake of man, and not man for the sake of the sabbath.” The Law of Moses clearly stated that the Sabbath was to be observed and that no work was to be done.
Thus, the account at Exodus 20:8-10 reads, “Remembering the Sabbath day to hold it sacred, you are to render service and you must do all your work six days. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to Jehovah your God. You must not do any work, you nor your son nor your daughter, your slave man nor your slave girl nor your domestic animal nor your alien resident who is inside your gates.”
Not only was blood to be held sacred according to the Law, but the Sabbath was also. However, Christ taught that if a the life of a human was at stake, or even the life of a bull or sheep, the life of the human was to be cared for, since the sabbath was created for the sake of man, not man for the sake of the sabbath! In like manner, today, blood is taught by God to be held sacred, however, if a humans life is at stake, the life of the human should be cared for, since clearly, God did not create man for the sake of blood, but He created blood for the sake of man!
The organization has repeatedly taught interpretations of scripture in the area of medical aspects that have over time been reversed, which teachings include vaccinations, organ transplants, and blood with its fractions. No doubt this resulted in much pain and in some cases needless death to faithful witnesses who did not get the medical treatment necessary, only to have those teachings changed in later years.
The organization taught for over 60 years that alternative military services were not permitted by witnesses, leading to witnesses being needlessly imprisoned and suffering hardships for what they thought was true. This ‘truth’ like many others, ended in 1996 when the organization moved this also into the person decision category.
Witnesses do not “abstain from blood” at all, since all the fractions of blood’s four primary components are allowed to the Witness community, along with blood serums.
The watchtower has neither logical nor biblical basis for allowing the witnesses to take all of bloods fractions without organizational sanctions, while members who do take any of the four major components are basically disfellowshipped, in that they disassociate themselves. The organization, although teaching that an organ transplant is allowable to the JW community after 1980, and recognizing that blood is an organ, does not allow this organ to be a conscience issue. This is another clear contradiction.
In Acts 15, the James council to “abstain from blood” was written to a specific group at a specific time in history, and was not intended in an all embracing sense. Rather, in quoting from Leviticus 17 the context clearly showed that it was in regard to eating blood that gentile Christians should abstain, since this was offensive to the Jews in whose land they were dwelling.
The organization has admitted that the biblical teachings on abstaining from blood were written with only the idea of taking it in as food, as seen in the QFR in the 9/15 1958 issue of the Watchtower. Thus, according to there own publication their current position has gone beyond what the bible teaches and are currently adding to Gods word commandments that He has never taught. Therefore the current position is intellectually indefensible, and contrary to what the scriptures teach in this matter.
The religious leaders of Gods organization in Christ day were guilty of misinterpreting the inspired scriptures, holding that Christ work of caring for people was breaking Gods law. Christ corrected them by showing that the Laws were created for the people, not the people for the Laws. In view of the clear historic evidence that the organization has made many reversals on both religious and medical teachings, and in view of fact that witnesses are no longer abstaining from blood, what reasonable person would not accept whatever component of blood they need to sustain ones own life? What educated and reasonable person would trust an organization like the Watchtower with their life when the clear evidence is that the organization is wrong about what they have taught on blood?
God did not created man for the sake of blood, but He created blood for the sake of man. We should not hold the symbol of life to be of more importance than that which it it’s a symbol of, namely life. Attempts to sustain life by means of blood certainly display strong evidence of a persons respect for the sacredness of both blood and life.