"Jehovah’s Witnesses, Blood Transfusions, and the Tort of Misrepresentation " - Louderback-Wood

by OrphanCrow 5 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • OrphanCrow

    Kelly Louderback-Wood has been discussed on a few threads on this forum, and I am not sure if a link to this essay has been posted before.

    Regardless...this is a valuable essay that helps a person wade through the misrepresentations that the WT publishes concerning their noblood stance.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses, Blood Transfusions, and the Tort of Misrepresentation (download pdf)

    The Society’s main resource regarding its blood policy, “How Can Blood Save Your Life?” (“pamphlet”), teaches both Witnesses and interested persons about the religion’s blood prohibition. In addition to giving the Society’s religious interpretation, the pamphlet relies on quotes from historians, scientists, and medical professionals to bolster its no-blood position. This essay will first discuss the pamphlet’s misrepresentations of these secular writers and the availability of private action suits for persons harmed when a religious organization misrepresents secular facts. Furthermore, the Society’s blood policy is both complex and ever-changing with respect to acceptable blood techniques and permitted blood products. Thus, this essay will also examine misrepresentations within the dissemination of the blood policy that could leave both Witnesses and medical staff ill-advised. This essay does not address the veracity of other Jehovah’s Witness writings and is not meant to be an attack on the religion’s beliefs, including its belief that mankind should abstain from blood. It is meant, however, to further legal theory regarding the use of tort law as a narrowly tailored means for affording harmed persons legal redress.

    Louderback-Wood offers a legal discussion of the concept of "tort of misrepresentation" and then, on page 8, she begins to dissect the WT's literature (*propaganda*) that promotes the noblood stand.

    Society’s Main Blood Indoctrination Literature Misrepresents
    Secular Facts

    In making the transformation to not accepting blood, many
    followers rely on the Society’s pamphlet, “How Can Blood
    Save Your Life?” (“pamphlet”),36 which states, “Medical
    evidence is offered to support blood therapy. Thus, you
    owe it to yourself to get the facts in order to make an
    informed choice about blood.”37 This claim to veracity
    immediately precedes the Society’s particular version of the
    medical risks surrounding blood and medical alternatives,
    thereby suggesting that the medical information that
    follows is factual.
    This section discusses the pamphlet’s veracity through
    analyzing the Society’s multiple misquotes of individual
    secular writers including: (1) scientists and biblical
    historians; (2) the medical community’s assessment of
    blood-born disease risks; and (3) doctors’ assessments of
    quality alternatives to blood, including the magnitude of
    risks from foregoing a blood transfusion. This section will
    then document the pamphlet’s near-omission of the
    Society’s acceptance of blood fractions, an exception
    clouded in obscurity as will be shown.

  • Giordano


    Good info Orphan Crow. Thanks for finding this. There is another quote declaring that a transfusion is eating blood. That doctor was practicing in 1750 or so.

    On page 8 The Society actually comes to their own conclusion and misrepresents a historians’ writings. The pamphlet quotes scientists and historians to bolster its position that early Christians absolutely never ate blood. Keep in mind this was a mid Eighteenth Century Historian.
    The pamphlet’s most powerful argument is its quotation of Joseph Priestley’s “conclusion.” The pamphlet states (without any reference): Scientist Joseph Priestley concluded: ‘The prohibition to eat blood, given to Noah, seems to be obligatory on all his posterity . . . If we interpret [the] blood prohibition of the apostles by the practice of the primitive Christians, who can hardly be supposed not to have rightly understood the nature and extent of it, we cannot but conclude, that it was intended to be absolute and perpetual; for blood was not eaten by any Christians for many centuries.’38 The Society has grossly misrepresented Joseph Priestley’s writings. Priestley, who lived in the eighteenth century, was both a scientist and a religious writer. The Society’s above quote comes from his religious writings, “The Theological and Miscellaneous Works of Joseph Priestley.” Priestley began his writing entitled “Of Abstinence from Blood” by stating: 36. Available online at www.watchtower.org. 37. How Can Blood Save Your Life? (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. 1990), 7. 38. Ibid., 5.


    Priestley argued elsewhere that Christians could indeed eat blood because the New Testament says that nothing which goes into the mouth defiles a man, that those who believe they can eat all things are stronger, and that God’s Kingdom is not predicated on food or drink.41 It is a misrepresentation for the Society to quote Priestley as an adherent to an absolute prohibition, when in fact he was not committed to either eating or not eating blood and didn’t think the argument was important enough to include in his main text. While the Society quoted Priestley’s words verbatim, the words were taken out of context leaving the reader with a false impression that Priestley advocated total abstinence from blood. Joseph Priestley, The Theological and Miscellaneous Works of Joseph Priestley, vol. 2, J.T. Rutt & Kraus Reprint Company eds., 1972, 376, “Appendix, Section II–Of Abstinence from Blood / The Doctrines of Revealed Religion.”
  • OrphanCrow

    Thanks for re-posting that link, Giorando.

    i don't know why...but links to that site won't hold on this forum. For anyone who wants to download the essay, copy and paste the link to your browser.

    The WT's literature on noblood promotion is inaccurate, manipulated and just plain...wrong. They use their usual tactics of sliding sideways and hiding behind the language.

    It is difficult to de-tangle the WT misinformation and Louderback-Wood has offered a valuable resource with this essay. She does a good job of exposing the misrepresentations in the WT noblood literature.

  • smiddy

    Barbara Anderson wrote about this a few years ago Hpwever it`s good to re-post info like this from time to time for all the newbies and to refresh our own memories.

    Thanks to you both.

  • Vidiot

    Once again for the newbies, lurkers, and trolls...

    ...if you have to cheat to defend your beliefs, your beliefs don't deserve to be defended.

  • OrphanCrow
    smiddy: Barbara Anderson wrote about this a few years ago However it`s good to re-post info like this from time to time for all the newbies and to refresh our own memories.
    Thanks to you both.

    I agree. Even though the article was written 10 years ago+, it is good to keep it visible

    The following article concerning Louder-back's article is a good one too. It was written in 2006:


    This article first appeared in the News Watch column of the Christian Research Journal, volume29, number3 (2006). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org

    The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, which governs more than 98,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, recently reaffirmed its ban on blood transfusions, despite growing pressure from Witnesses, former Witnesses, and lawyers to allow the procedure. A Watch Tower letter, dated January 3, 2006, urged its 6.6 million members to seek alternatives to transfusions from the emerging field of “bloodless medicine.” The five-page letter was sent to congregations less than a month after Florida attorney Kerry Louderback-Wood opened up a new avenue of suing the Watch Tower in an article she wrote for Baylor University’sJournal of Church and State.

    Blood Money. Louderback-Wood’s article, “Jehovah’s Witnesses, Blood Transfusions, and the Tort of Misrepresentation,” argues that the Watch Tower can be held financially liable for the deaths of Witnesses who refused transfusions. The basis for the lawsuits is that the Watch Tower has bolstered its no-blood stance by misrepresenting historical, scientific, and medical facts in its main resource on its blood policies, a pamphlet titled How Can Blood Save Your Life? (available online at www.watchtower.org).

    Past lawsuits failed because the Watch Tower’s ban is based on a religious belief—that the Bible prohibits eating blood. (The Watch Tower teaches that receiving a transfusion is the same as eating blood.) Louderback-Wood, a former Witness, argues that the appeal to religious freedom can be sidestepped if the organization is sued for twisting facts, including exaggerating the risks of transfusions while downplaying the risks of bloodless medicine.

    full article at link...

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