The WTS and blood transfusions. Part 1. Please criticise!!

by still wondering 9 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • still wondering
    still wondering

    The following is part of a letter written to my sister (last remaining family still a JW) who needed surgery. I hoped this would be an opportune time to raise the error of misinterpreting the handful of verses that they use to justify wanton suicide.

    If you can think of any arguments that she may present in an effort to rebuff the points made then please comment.

    “I’ve been thinking lately about your stay in hospital and the possible consequences of this.

    You remember that for many years the Society taught that the life of a creature was literally in its blood. Then some 25 years ago they changed it back to the belief that the Society formally had prior to 1945, that is at a time when blood transfusions were allowed and not viewed as unscriptural by the Society. The view then and now is that blood merely symbolises the value of life. It is now viewed simply as a metaphor for the value of life.

    Please remember that a symbol or metaphor is neither as nor more important than that which it symbolises. A wedding ring is just a symbol and is clearly not more valuable than that which it symbolises.

    Just as it is not rational for a person to attempt to prove that they value their marriage by committing adultery and throwing their marriage away, so neither does a person prove that they value life by committing suicide so throwing their life away.

    Respect for the value of life demands that a person would do all that is possible to preserve it.

    Jesus outlined the principle when he said;

    Matthew 12:7 "However, if YOU had understood what this means, 'I want mercy, and not sacrifice ,' YOU would not have condemned the guiltless ones."

    Matthew 12:11 "Who will be the man among YOU that has one sheep and, if this falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not get hold of it and lift it out? All considered, of how much more worth is a man than a sheep !"

    Clearly the Society’s post 1945, in contrast with its pre 1945, interpretation put on Acts 15 and 21 is not consistent with any attempt to demonstrate a person has a high value for life or consistent with the principle outlined by Jesus.

    So although the Society says that they now view blood just as a representation of life (a reversal to their previous view) is that currently stated view seen in actuality, that is in real life situations. In reality is this changed view apparent in practice? Clearly not because in contradiction to this view is also the stated belief that the Creator of life requires such sacrifices and is pleased when they are made.

    Think about it, which has greater value, the wedding ring or what it represents, your marriage? Which has greater value, blood or what it represents, life? There is simply no contest. Whilst you view your marriage vows as sacred you do not hold their representation, your wedding ring, as sacred. That would be turning it into an idol. Just as life is sacred its representation, blood, is not sacred because it’s just a symbol. The symbol is replaceable. It is simply a representation of the real thing which is of infinitely greater value. The problems arise when the representation is viewed or masquerades as the real thing.

    It is not only irrational to elevate an object, a symbol, to be of equal or greater value than that which it represents but the effect is to convert what was just a representation into an idol. It is a foregone conclusion what the effect will be of such elevating of blood from that of a simple symbol, representation or metaphor to that of an idol.

    The consequence of making an idol is that sacrifices are invariably made to it. So the belief became that God requires and is pleased when such sacrifices of human life are made. Is that different from what the Canaanites believed? Clearly it is not. Just as the Canaanites made the ultimate sacrifices to their idols i.e. human including child sacrifice, so too in this instance many human lives including the lives of children and babies have been sacrificed over the last 65 years after the Societies ruling on the use of blood in medical treatment changed from permitted to not permitted thereby elevating the value of blood from a that of a simple symbol to that of an idol.

    The Canaanites were condemned for, amongst other actions, not simply for engaging in idolatry but for engaging in the most heinous and wicked form of idolatry that there could possibly be, that of human sacrifice in an attempt to please their god because they believed their god required such sacrifices.”

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    Please remember that a symbol or metaphor is neither as nor more important than that which it symbolises.

    I'd put a comma after "neither as." It's grammatically fine as it is but kind of awkward for a reader.

    is that currently stated view seen in actuality, that is in real life situations.

    Needs a "?" instead of a period.

    The Canaanites were condemned for, amongst other actions, not simply for engaging in idolatry

    One of those "for" needs to go.

    That's all I found grammatically in a quick read through, but as one who has tried writing to JW relatives, I would like to add this: don't expect a positive response. You can write the most loving and scriptural letter imaginable and it will still be twisted by the cult personality into something evil and hateful in the short term. Someday, if and when your sister leaves the cult, she may look back on the letter and realize it was both true and loving, but if you get a harsh response immediately don't be surprised.

    Good luck.

  • still wondering
    still wondering

    MS Many thanks for the corrections.

    Initially I will be happy with any response as that will mean that at the very least she has read it rather than immediately discarding it which is what I most fear.

  • TD

    Minor comment on the history of the teaching:

    There's a lot of web sites out there that claim that the teaching suddenly started in 1945. That's not exactly what happened

    The first negative comment regarding transfusion appeared in 1944. A second comment appeared in 1945. The comments made in both 1944 and 1945 were so vague and oblique that it would have been difficult at the time to even see where the writer was headed.

    Far more explicit comments were made in 1949 in both The Watchtower and Awake! and even stronger statements were made in 1950 in response to the flood of mail those comments provoked.

    By 1950, no one could deny that transfusion was strongly frowned upon, but this actually happened very gradually. There is no single year you can put your finger on and say, "This is the year it all went down."

  • still wondering
    still wondering

    TD thanks for clarifying the timing of the change.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    I made much the same argument on this discussion board a few years ago but you've articulated much better than I did. Well done!

  • still wondering
    still wondering

    NN Thanks, high praise indeed from such a long standing member of JWD.

    It seems that no one so far has detected any flaws in the argument or presented any valid rebuffs. Thats what I was hoping.

  • BabaYaga

    Bookmarked and well said, Still Wondering. I hope for the best for your sister's upcoming surgery.

  • carla


  • still wondering
    still wondering

    So far, so good. No rebuffs. Please comment on part 2 if you can see a fallacy.

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