JW HLC....a mixed bunch...what has been your experience?
I have had greatly varied experiences with HLC members over the years. I was never one myself, but I knew several of them personally. Most struck me as being generally decent human beings. I have also dealt with quite a few as a dissident JW after I started the web site "New Light on Blood" in 1997. I was quickly contacted by a number of HLC members who had the same concerns that I did. One group from South America even agreed to publish a position paper, that later became part of a mass mailing campaign.
Here is my response to him the British Medical Journal. I would like to hear what your experiences with HLC have been like.
The rapid response is large but on skimming through it reveals a large number of jw kids dying of leukaemia every year. How is this so that so many kids are Leukemic? I ave experienced that jw as a group are the unhealthiest of people but this is off the scale.
We didn't have a blood issue. We needed to find a surgeon for my dad. We wanted to make sure we got a JW friendly one. Rang local HLC rep who told us to find our own and let them know how it went because they are always looking for good surgeons. What the!!!!!!?
Anyway we did end up finding a really good surgeon on our own. The inevitable could not to avoided and when my dad was on his death bed in hospital that same HLC brother came to visit and said to me "I didn't think your dad was this sick".
Words cannot express how I feel about them.
Zeb: Its based on averages, so definitely not "off the scale". I've personally known two JW youngsters that died from Leukemia, when they rejected medically necessary blood products. When that happens they typically have to discontinue their chemotherapy, or they must reject a stem cell transplant. We're going to be posting a story later this year about a child of an HLC member who also died from a blood cancer. The 94 Awake has more stories and photos of victims as well.
My daughter had to have a significant operation and was only a year old. Neither my wife or I had any idea of 'ward of court' as it is not exactly publicised by the organisation, and we were both young back then.
My wife was absolutely adamant that our daughter was not to have blood. I kept expressing my concerns to her about it in the weeks up to the operation. In the end she suggested I speak to an elder who was on the HLC. I couldn't believe that she didn't share the same concerns and seemed to have a blind devotion to the blood policy.
I explained what was happening and sought his advice. I was expecting him to encourage me to make a stand on blood etc. To my surprise, he gave me an answer from a common sense approach. He explained to me about ward of court and that the surgeons would be in a position lawfully to administer blood if they felt there was a significant risk.
I was really surprised at his answer and immediately felt a huge weight lifted of me. I told my wife and she 'immediately' accepted what was said...which says something in itself.
I was very grateful for the common sense approach this elder had and for easing my fears at the time.
I wish this same common sense approach could be used across the board regardless of age.
Lee Elder: I would like to hear what your experiences with HLC have been like.
My experience with the "HLC" dates back to the days before they were known as such.
I had an encounter with those men in the days that the HLC was being piloted in Canada. 1974. The year after the "Alternatives to Blood Transfusion for Pediatrics" was published by all those devout and well-meaning 'interested' Jehovah's Witnesses down in eastern Canada. Published by all those interested JW doctors, pharmacists, etc. and distributed to hospitals across Canada.
I don't have very many memories of those JW men who were immediately called to the hospital and likely were waiting by their phones - they arrived lickety split after my mother signed the no blood order for my newborn infant son. I suspect that they had already been alerted to a potential blood transfusion issue with a JW baby. Only thing is...that baby (my baby) was NOT a JW baby.
Not only was my baby not a JW, I wasn't a JW and neither was my mother a JW. She had been disfellowshipped four years before that no blood order got signed by her. And the JW men that were called to the hospital? Neither my mother or I had ever seen or met them before. Of course we hadn't - neither one of us had stepped foot inside a Kingdom Hall for years and the congregation we had attended was way out in the rural country, nowhere near the big city where my son was in the hospital.
To this day, I do not know why the doctors and the hospital didn't step up to the plate and give me mature minor support so that my wishes for my baby were respected. I wanted him to have a blood transfusion if he needed one but the minute that the white shirts and shiny shoes turned up at the consulting room, I was immediately ushered out of the room and the negotiations that occurred happened between my mother, the doctors and the JW men. I sat outside in the hall while they decided to cut my tiny, newborn baby open and try alternative procedures on him instead of a simple blood transfusion.
My suspicions? The JWs had done their groundwork really, really well. The doctors at the hospital were fully cooperative, in fact so cooperative that a newborn baby was seen as a gold mine that had fell into their lap. A precious, tiny little guinea pig. One that could be used for those alternative procedures that the JW men had already promoted in that hospital.
My impressions of those pilot HLC men? Shiny shoes, white shirts, and the power to stop me from talking to the doctors. Me. The baby's mother. I was 16 years old and kicked out of the consulting room by those shiny shoes. I will hate them until the day I die. And beyond. Forever.
OC, I’ve always enjoyed your posts and research and now understand why it is so important to you. I’ve learned so much from your posts and wanted to say thanks! Hope your baby was ok and survived their awful experimentations. I’m so angry that as the Mother, your voice was not heard.
Thank you, Tricked.
Yes, my baby survived. The doctors gave him a 3% chance of living. He lived because he was a tough little son of a bitch.