When did the society decide blood transfusions were a bad idea?

by new boy 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • new boy
    new boy

    More book research.

  • darkspilver

    new boy: More book research

    hmmm, you could try starting your research in the WT Index.

    Under the heading Beliefs Clarified.


  • TD

    The very first direct condemnation of transfusion medicine in JW literature appeared in the December 1, 1944 issue of The Watchtower, page 362:


  • slimboyfat

    Singelenberg claimed there was an earlier reference in the Dutch editon of the WT, as I recall.

  • Ultimate Reality
    Ultimate Reality

    I researched this a few years ago. Here are some notes I made; hope it helps. It morphs from anti-vaccination to anti-transfusion.

    “Instead, we should write to them to keep away from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from anything strangled, and from blood. After all, Moses has had people to proclaim him in every city for generations, and on every Sabbath his books are read aloud in the synagogues.” – Acts 15:20,21, ISV


    "These prohibitions had never come to the Gentiles, because they had never been under the Law Covenant; but so deeply rooted were the Jewish ideas on this subject that it was necessary to the peace of the church that the Gentiles should observe this matter also." – Zion’s Watch Tower April 15, 1909


    “The most sacred thing on earth in the sight of God is human blood, “for in the image of God he made man.” (See Genesis 9:6.) God destroyed the entire human race, except Noah and his family, at the time of the flood, because of un-natural pollution of human blood.”

    “So important was this covenant that God placed His bow in the clouds as an everlasting reminder of the danger of its violation.”

    “What about Armageddon?…Will those who have made and injected and suffered the injection of calf and horse serums [for vaccination] into the human bloodstream go scot free? We doubt it.”

    “Quite likely there is some connection between the violation of human blood and the spread of demonisim.”

    “…much of the looseness of our day along sexual lines may be traceable to the easy and continued violation of the divine commands to keep human and animal blood apart from each other. With cells of foreign blood racing through his veins man is not normal, not himself, but lacks the poise and balance which make for self control.” – The Golden Age, February 4, 1931


    "We are told that it takes one and a third pints of whole blood to get enough of the blood protein or "fraction" known as gamma globulin for one injection... its being made of whole blood places it in the same category as blood transfusions as far as Jehovah's prohibition of taking blood into the system is concerned." - Awake!, January 8, 1954 p.24


    "The blood in any person is in reality the person himself. ... poisons due to personal living, eating and drinking habits ... The poisons that produce the impulse to commit suicide, murder, or steal are in the blood. Moral insanity, sexual perversions, repression, inferiority complexes, petty crimes - these often follow in the wake of blood transfusion." - Watchtower, September 1, 1961 p.564

  • Earnest

    In Consolation of December 22, 1943, p.23 there was a short article entitled Horse Blood for Transfusions :

    At the California Institute of Technology "scientists" have used horse blood in transfusion into humans and for serums for immunization against disease. Dr. Dan H. Campbell, of the institute reports:

    We now can use cow or horse blood in transfusions to human [creatures], but the first transfusion sets up a hypersensitivity or allergy in the patient so that a second transfusion is dangerous and may prove fatal. We hope to overcome this in future experiments. Under present methods of immunization, for instance, meningitis germs are injected into a horse. It is these anti-bodies in serums made from the animal's blood which immunize persons against meningitis. Other serums are obtained similarly.

    The divine prohibition as to eating or partaking of blood does not appear to trouble the "scientists".

    A.H. Macmillan wrote in his book Faith on the March, pp.188,189, :

    [During World War II] some of our boys in one prison in particular considered [vaccinations] the same as blood transfusions, and refused to submit...[I told them] "...Now vaccination is not anything like blood transfusion. No blood is used in the vaccine. It is a serum. So you would not be violating those Scriptures which forbid taking blood into your system".

    In December 1944, in an article A Stranger's Right Maintained (pp.355-364), The Watchtower said:

    ...the stranger [in Israel] was forbidden to eat or drink blood, whether by transfusion or by the mouth.

    In July 1, 1945, issue of The Watchtower (pp.195-204) there was a whole article, Immoveable for the Right Worship, which made clear that blood transfusions were included in the Bible prohibition against blood.

    The Dutch edition of Consolation to which Singelenberg referred (Social Science and Medicine, Vol.31, No.4, p.516) actually declared the reverse, that

    God never issued provisions prohibiting the use of medicine, injections, or blood transfusion

    God heeft nooit bepalingen uitgevaardigd die het gebruik van medicijnen, inspuitengen of bloedtransfusie verbiedt - Vertroosting, September 1945, bl.29

    It seems that in post-war confusion the Dutch had not yet received the new light on blood.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Perhaps controversial as to its authentication; nevertheless, worth considering:

    "When faced with mounting opposition, Fred Franz eased the Society's position on blood regarding the following [bold added]: (1) Serum injections such as diphtheria toxin antitoxin and gamma globulin blood fractions were permitted. (2) There was no need to drain blood from fish (except when "a person sees an accumulation of blood"), only land animals. (3) While a Witness could not personally use fertilizer using blood, he could use it when employed by a non-witness. This and similar situations were made matters of conscience. (4) Over the years, the Watch Tower Society had taken the position of prohibiting the use of blood fractions in the treatment of hemophiliacs. But long before officially leaving this stringent position, if one were to call the headquarters they would be told that such treatment was permissible. Years later, in the June 15, 1978 WATCHTOWER, the "oracle" decided the pressure was getting too severe, so he withdrew his position altogether, and permitted both hemophiliac preparations Factor VIII and IX. How many hemophiliacs died in the interim, further sacrifices on the altar of man-made Watch Tower dogma?"

    THE FOUR PRESIDENTS, E. C. Gruss, Ed. p. 77.


  • TD

    The reference to transfusion in the 1945 Watchtower always leaves me scratching my head:

    “Among the barbarous and fierce, savage nations, such as the Scythians, Tartars, desert Arabs, Scandinavians, etc., who lived most on animal blood, there were some even who drank the blood of their enemies after making cups of their skulls. And quite interestingly, in our consultation of various works on the subject of blood, this related item came to light on page 113, column one, of Volume 4 of The Encyclopedia Americana, Revised Edition of 1929:

    “Transfusion of blood dates as far back as the time of the ancient Egyptians. The earliest reported case is that practiced on Pope Innocent VIII in 1492. The operation cost the lives of three youths and the Pontiff’s life was not saved. Great strides in the research and practice of transfusion on animals were made after Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of blood in the middle of the 17th century. Physicians in Germany, England and France were especially active in the work of blood transfusion after this discovery. They reasoned that as the blood is the principal medium by which the body is nourished, transfusion, therefore, is a quicker and shorter road to feed an ill-nourished body than eating food which turns to blood after several changes. So transfusion was thought of not only as a cure, but also a rejuvenator.” (The Watchtower July 1, 1945 pp 200, 201)

    The Encyclopedia article was clearly discussing the history of transfusion, not current thinking in the field of medicine at the time. Certainly by 1945 it was known that the original 17th century premises were incorrect.

    How that fact could have been overlooked is beyond me. It's almost as if there was a problem in reading comprehension or perhaps they (i.e. the Watchtower writers) saw only what they wanted to see

  • vienne

    Two Witness physicians treating a Witness patient raised the issue in 1944. The patient refused blood citing Acts. They wrote to the Society asking for help with their patient. Their response was the blood ban. I know some will want greater detail. But this comes from a series of interviews with old-time believers, in this case from one of the doctors involved. We are bound by some confidentiality agreements for a few more years. Sorry.

  • Bobcat


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