Were organ transplants ever forbidden?

by stillstuckcruz 22 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • stillstuckcruz

    As an apostate, I'm currently compiling a list of changed doctrines and "new light" changes over the years. This is mainly for discussing with witnesses in the future. I feel if I don't present full truth of their own doctrine, they will knock me down and rightfully say that I did not give full infomation(hypocrites much?). Doing more research i found the articles dealing with organ transplants via the web and they were based on these:

    -1961 = Conscience choice.
    [Watchtower August 1, 1961 'Question from Readers']

    -1967 = Cannibalistic.
    [Watchtower November 15, 1967 ‘Questions from Readers’]

    -1980 = Conscience choice.
    [Watchtower March 15, 1980, page 31]

    [BOLDING mines]

    •The first article from 1961 mentions: "However, it does not seem that any Scriptural principle or law is involved. It therefore is something that each individual must decide for himself. If he is satisfied in his own mind and conscience that this is a proper thing to do, then he can make such provision, and no one else should criticize him for doing so."

    • So here is obviously the personal decision being made and no one judging others for making such a decision

    •The second article from 1967 mentions these points:

    -When there is a diseased or defective organ, the usual way health is restored is by taking in nutrients. The body uses the food eaten to repair or heal the organ, gradually replacing the cells. 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.

    -It is of interest to note that in its discussion of cannibalism the Encyclopœdia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings, Volume 3, page 199, has a section designated “Medical cannibalism.” It points out that this is associated with the idea of obtaining strength or some medical virtue from the flesh of another human, adding: “The most remarkable example of this practice occurs in China. Among the poor it is not uncommon for a member of the family to cut a piece of flesh from arm or leg, which is cooked and then given to a sick relative. . . . The whole superstition in China is certainly connected with the idea that the eating of the human body strengthens the eater. . . . Among savages the practice is found of giving a sick man some blood to drink drawn from the veins of a relative.” Some might argue that therapeutic practices involved in modern organ transplant operations are more scientific than such primitive treatment. Nonetheless, it is evident that men practicing medicine have not been beyond using treatments that amount to cannibalism if such have been thought justified.

    -At present scientific researchers are starting to use artificial or animal parts where formerly human parts were thought necessary, such as in the case of cornea transplants. (See, for instance, Science News for May 21, 1966, page 396, and Time for April 28, 1967, pages 68 and 70.) Whether wider use of such operations will be made, we do not know. Nor can we decide whether a Christian should accept some animal part as a transplant; that is for personal decision [though this may be a different issue]

    -When it comes to deciding what to do with one’s own body or with the body of a deceased loved one, for which a Christian is responsible, the apostle Paul’s words at Romans 12:1 should not be overlooked: “I entreat you by the compassions of God, brothers, to present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason.” Baptized Christians have dedicated their lives, bodies included, to do the will of Jehovah their Creator. In view of this, can such a person donate his body or part of it for unrestricted use by doctors or others? Does a human have a God-given right to dedicate his body organs to scientific experimentation? Is it proper for him to allow such to be done with the body of a loved one? These are questions worthy of serious consideration.

    -Not to be overlooked is the use to which a dead body might be put. Would a Christian who, while living, refused to give his blood to be used as a transfusion for some other person, allow his body to be turned over to a group or to a person and possibly at that time have the blood removed and used for transfusion, as has been done with some cadavers? (See, for example, Awake! of October 22, 1962, page 30.) A person might feel that he could stipulate that his body not be used in that way; but if many persons in authority refuse to abide by a Christian’s wishes about blood when he is alive, what reason is there to believe they will show more respect for his wishes after his death? Would they use his organs in cannibalistic medical experiments?

    -Our bodies are the creation of Jehovah God. (Ps. 100:3; 95:6; Job 10:8) Christians might allow apparently necessary surgery to be performed, such as to remove a diseased limb, but they do not needlessly mutilate their bodies created by Jehovah. Would allowing a body to be mutilated after death be showing respect for and appreciation of God’s creation? True, in some instances there may be legal requirements that Christians abide by, such as when the law requires a postmortem examination to determine the cause of death. (Rom. 13:1, 7; Mark 12:17) In such cases the next of kin can usually request that the organs not be removed for transplant or reuse. In this way, even though an autopsy might be required, the Christian can prevent misuse of the body of a loved one. But when such laws do not apply, the Christian can decide in such a way as to avoid unnecessary mutilation and any possible misuse of the body. Thus he will be able to have a clear conscience before God.—1 Pet. 3:16.

    -It should be evident from this discussion that Christians who have been enlightened by God’s Word do not need to make these decisions simply on the basis of personal whim or emotion. They can consider the divine principles recorded in the Scriptures and use these in making personal decisions as they look to God for direction, trusting him and putting their confidence in the future that he has in store for those who love him.—Prov. 3:5, 6; Ps. 119:105. [END]

    • So although, yes, brothers and sisters were HIGHLY encouraged to go one particular way, it still seems like it was a personal matter. Now, I wasn't alive during this time period so I don't know what happened. I do know of stories of those who have died on account of this article[sad as it may be]. But(and I'm asking those who have witnessed it), was there ever judicial action taken against such ones who transplanted their organs or those who partook of them? It doesn't seem from this article that it was expressly forbidden such as the issues of holidays and the taking of blood and other issues. Although, yes I can certainly see how someone could derive that it is wrong to do so from this article. But there is no mention of disciplinary measures for organ transplantation(is that a word?) and vice versa.

    •Then, of course, we have the final article from 1980, which mentions that no judicial action would be taken and it is agian just a personal choice not to be judged by others.

    -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.

    I feel that when I witness to witnesses, I must be absolutely truthful regarding their own doctrines, otherwise I am no different than they are, and am being an apostate fitting of their own descriptions...."spreading false stories"

  • blondie

    The congregation judicial committee would not take disciplinary action if someone accepted an organ transplant.--This sentence from the 1980 QFR shows that previously a JC would have been involved. I know of 2 people who were df'd pre-1980 for having an organ transplant. But jws have convenient memories.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    The 1967 article states unequivocally that it is cannibalism. Would a Jehovah's Witness have been brought before a committee for committing cannibalism? No question about it. It was absolutely a disfellowshipping offense to have an organ transplant from 1967 to 1980.

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    I hope if I ever need an organ, that someone will let me cannibalize them.


  • Leolaia

    Also notice what Milton Henschel said about it in July 1968 (Detroit Free Press):

    "In an interview, Milton G. Henschel, 48, said there has been some development in the teaching of the Witnesses, but bans against transfusions -- and transplanting, which is done with wide use of blood -- still exist.

    " 'Transplanting organs is really cannibalism,' said the tall, 6-foot-4 pleasant man who is almost a spitting image of a thinner Bob Hope. 'In transplants, you are taking something from another body to sustain your life.'

    "From the Scriptures he referred to Gen. 9:3, 4: 'Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for you. Only flesh with its soul -- its blood -- you must not eat.' And Acts 15:29: 'Abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood.'

    " 'We are confident of the resurrection, and don't fear death,' Mr. Henschel said. 'If a person gains another five years, because of a transplant, what has he gained, if he loses his future?' "

  • stillstuckcruz

    @Blondie: Ahh this was what I was hoping for really...was first had experience. What's interesting is how there is never any mention of disciplinary action. At least in the 67' article. We never discuss these type of things at out "family study". We usually just do the WT every week. YAWN!

    @Leolaia: Thats VERY interesting! Do you know where I can find and print out this article online?

  • Leolaia

    Here ya go:

  • Apognophos

    This was honestly the biggest single factor for me in "leaving the truth", and it came out of nowhere; being a child of the '80s, I'd never heard of this until I read about it on JWFacts. I didn't exactly think, when I first came across the info there, that Paul Grundy had made up his Watchtower quotes -- I had read enough of the site to know that he was probably not manufacturing quotes like some kind of insidious WT caricature of an apostate -- but I just had to read the actual Questions From Readers in 1967 and 1980 myself from the WT Library CD-ROM before I could process the information. I actually found the full text of the QFRs to be more shocking than what JWFacts had presented in excerpts. It was clear that if God had an organization, he would NEVER allow this kind of totally bunk science and completely baseless logic to be taught when it could result in the death of some of his followers.

    The 1980 flip-flop also has the amazing side-effect of kicking one of the legs out from under the blood teaching by acknowledging that getting something transplanted into one's body is different than consuming it as food.

  • Narcissistic Supply
    Narcissistic Supply

    I encourage all JW's to join the bone marrow registry.

  • zound

    Wow, so much good stuff in that interview:

    Transplants are cannibalism.
    Blood and transplants are banned.
    1975 is the year to watch for.
    JW's don't petition or protest.
    Believing in young earth creationism.
    Even that bit at the end "Space travel is a waste of time."

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