BLOOD FACTS & RULES (FROM THE POSTER)
WHY DO JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
1945: The doctrine was promulgated in 1945. It was
shortly before the time the religion abandoned
the previous prohibition of immunization. Ini-tially
there was no distinction between whole
blood and various components.
1961 - 2000: Members who willfully received blood
and who did not repent are subject to the Watch-tower
Society’s policy of enforced shunning
(disfellowshipping or disassociation).
1963: Use of serum was also prohibited; this was re-versed
1967: Organ transplants were prohibited; this was
reversed in 1980.
1978: Use of clotting factors for hemophiliacs was
1981: Use of albumin was permitted.
1981: Dr. Lowell Dixon, of the Watchtower Society,
published guidelines for the use of blood and
Jehovah’s Witnesses in JAMA (JAMA 1981;
246:2471). This article set the framework of for-bidden
major components and acceptable minor
components; it also established that one’s own
stored blood cannot be used whereas hemodialy-sis,
heart-lung machine and intraoperative salvage
1984: Bone marrow transplants were permitted.
1997: An internal effort to reform the blood policy
was organized on the internet by dissident
Jehovah’s Witnesses. The first case of peripheral
stem cells transplantation using stored white blood
cell was reported in Archives of Internal Medicine.
This treatment was officially approved by the
Watchtower Society, according to the article.
2000: Any fraction of major blood components were
permitted. This opened up the way to use hemo-globin-
based blood substitutes for Jehovah’s Wit-nesses.
• The Watchtower Society teaches
that the use of blood transfu-sions
and some blood products
violates biblical commands to ab-stain
from [eating] blood.
“But you must not eat meat that has its
lifeblood still in it.”
“None of you may eat blood, nor may an
alien living among you eat blood.”
“It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to
us not to burden you with anything
beyond the following requirements:
You are to abstain from food sacri-ficed
to idols, from blood, from the
meat of strangled animals and from
sexual immorality. You will do well to
avoid these things. Farewell.”
• Jehovah’s Witnesses are required
to reject medically necessary
treatments not approved by the
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE -JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES AND BLOOD
(ANSWERS AT THE BOTTOM)
1. TRUE OR FALSE: JWs refuse every blood
2. TRUE OR FALSE: Every JW refuses blood
3. TRUE OR FALSE: JWs have refused blood
transfusion throughout their history.
4. TRUE OR FALSE: JWs refuse kidney and
heart transplants because they contain
5. TRUE OR FALSE: Every JW knows exactly
which blood products and which blood-based
procedures are acceptable.
6. TRUE OR FALSE: JWs who accept blood
transfusions are always punished by the re-ligious
7. TRUE OR FALSE: When JWs sign their AD-VANCE
DIRECTIVE regarding blood refusal, the
religious organization explains all the ben-efits
and risks involved in blood-based treat-ments.
8. TRUE OR FALSE: Since blood donation is
not an act of "taking blood into your body",
JWs are allowed to donate blood.
9. Which of the following blood components
does the Watchtower Society officially allow
JWs to accept?
B. White cells
C. Peripheral blood stem cells
10.What happens if it becomes known that a
JW conscientiously accepted a forbidden
A. He/she will be publicly reproached and
given a bad mark.
B. He/she will be investigated by a judicial
committee, dispelled and shunned by the
family and the community.
C. He/she will be counseled and accepted
as a “spiritually weak.”
Key: 1-False, 2-False , 3- False, 4-False, 5-False ,
6-False, 7- False, 8- False, 9-C, 10-B.