I grew up in the era when it was cannibalistic...even worse than transfusions. Then they decided it was okay and I knew one dub who had a kidney transplant...I was shocked and felt that since blood carries the nutrients that feed the entire body, kidneys included, how could it be all right...well it was then put to be a matter of conscience. Things always change in that religion....
Calling All Who Were JWs Between 1967 and 1980
Welcome to the forum Crossroads........ your off to a good start! To answer you questions in their own words:
"Sustaining one's life by means of the body or part of the body of another human ... would be cannibalism, a practice abhorrent to all civilized people. "Watchtower 1967 Nov 15 pp.702-704
. Any Witness that had a transplant had engaged in 'cannibalism' and was a person without 'trust' in Jehovah, somebody the congregations found necessary to disfellowship from amongst their midst.
kidney transplant, a cornea transplant, bone marrow, skin, or anything else taken from another person. This has led to loss of lives that simple operations could have saved. It was reiterated in 1968 Awake! June 8, in which almost the entire magazine was devoted to the Watchtower view of medical procedures.
This edict on transplants, a disfellowshipping directive enlightened by God's Word lasted only thirteen years.
"There is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue ... It is a matter for personal decision..." Watchtower 1980 Mar 15 p 31:
"The Watchtower has gone even further now, commending transplants for the way they have "helped" people. (Awake! 1989 Aug 22 p.6) What is shameful in all this is that it was never stated that the view had changed. The Watchtower Index does not reference the 1967 article in regards to transplants. No apology has been published for the sake of those that were wrongfully disfellowshipped and those that unnecessarily lost their lives. How must this make a Witness feel that lost a loved one over the issue during the 1970's?
The sad reality is that Witnesses as a whole do not even know that their teachings have changed. Many are willing to lay their lives on the line without an understanding of the issues at hand and how they differ from a not too distant past. The Society has blood on its hands when its incorrect use of the Name of God results in the death of misled members." jwfacts.com
From 1921 to 1952, the Golden Age presented information against vaccinations. To cement this viewpoint in the minds of followers, vaccinations were described as worthless, harmful from a medical standpoint, and morally wrong from a biblical standpoint.
"Vaccination never prevented anything and never will, and is the most barbarous practice...We are in the last days; and the devil is slowly losing his hold, making a strenuous effort meanwhile to do all the damage he can, and to his credit can such evils be placed. ... Use your rights as American citizens to forever abolish the devilish practice of vaccinations." Golden Age 1921 Oct 12 p.17
"Thinking people would rather have smallpox than vaccination, because the latter sows the seed of syphilis, cancers, escema, erysipelas, scrofula, consumption, even leprosy and many other loathsome affections. Hence the practice of vaccination is a crime, an outrage and a delusion." Golden Age 1929 May 1 p.502
Good 'ere innit?
As a born in Jdub, my mind was always spinning. as in, what is WT going to change next? The answer to that I have supposed is that when one of the GB members, friends or family, 'need' something on the WT/JW..org 'can't have/do' list, presto, chango, New Lite...
Why do they have to act like uneducated used car salesmen with huge egos that 'know' everything'? We all know people like that and unfortunately, those are the kind of guys running WT/JW..org. Ignorant, arrogant men.
Yes, when transplants started back in the 1960's, it was a disfellowshiping offense to 'eat' another persons body organs and the person doing so would have been considered to be a 'cannibal' by WT standards. I remember it well. What I missed was the March 15, 1980 WT quoted above that said it was a private conscience matter. In 1988, I met someone who had had a transplant and was in good standing. I was shocked to say the least then someone told me WT had changed it's stance on it.
WT does not allow adults to grow up and make their own informed decisions. WT is the ignorant, embaressing blow heart, know it all, domineering, arrogant person that alert and aware people don't want to have anything to do with.
Just think of the question you're asking:
Is it permissible for any Jehovah's Witness to practice cannibalism?"
Could you imagine any answer which included:"So we see, practicing cannibalism, while wretchedly disgusting, is strictly a matter for each Christian's conscience to decide."
I was barely a teenager in the late 60's, but I clearly remember reading that Watchtower QFR equating transplants to cannibalism and thinking they were nuts. I never agreed with their ridiculous position. As I remember, accepting a transplant would have been considered the same as accepting a blood transfusion. Unless a person "repented" and had some excuse such as yielding to pressure or fear in the heat of the moment, they would have been disfellowshipped. That said, I don't recall the issue ever actually arising in my small town.
The same with the nonsense they came out with in the 70's about the literal heart being the seat of motivation. Even I, with no medical education or training whatsoever, instinctively knew that was BS. I remember seeing that giant heart light up during talks at the District Convention and thinking how loony they were. I never believed that crap for a minute. I remember talking about it with my elder dad, and him saying that if it was wrong it would be corrected in Jehovah's due time. Otherwise, I just kept my thoughts to myself. I "knew" they were right about so many other things that I pushed this anomaly into the background. I didn't know what cognitive dissonance was, but I sure had it.
Even now, though they have abandoned much of the egregious medical quackery spewed by the Golden Age, they continue to impose their groundless religious interpretations on their followers' most personal medical decisions. They rail against in-vitro fertilization (IVF), egg and sperm donation, surrogacy, etc., equating it with adultery. This completely ignores the principle of brother-in-law marriage, which was not only allowed but sometimes required back in the good ol' "Bible days." It seems they can't understand that adultery is unfaithfulness and disloyalty to one's mate, and has nothing to do with the actual biological material exchanged. There is nothing special or sacred about any individual's sperm or egg cells in and of themselves. When assisted reproduction, whatever the exact method, is used to produce a longed for child, with the knowledge and consent of all involved, it is a gift of love. It has nothing at all to do with adultery. Only narrow-minded religious control freaks would equate the two.
This is just some of the evil that comes from self-appointed religious leaders applying their uneducated and ignorant lay person interpretations to scattered passages in a book of Bronze Age myths and superstitions and demanding their followers accept them as laws of God. This fallacious practice has cost many lives.
Watchtower never thinks ahead. Always making up stupid rules! Like little gangs of boys posting RULES on the Club House Door.
My brother had been blinded in his eye and had a chance to see again with a cornea transplant. But that was forbidden around the mid sixties...on the threat of dying at Armageddon!
So no transplant.
By the late 70's it was possible to have that operation without "getting killed". But guess what?
By waiting so long, the brain no longer responded to that eye.
So because of watchtower insanity ...the man lived almost 50 years with a blind eye!
No problem for watchtower .......but plenty for my brother!
Guess the gb really need to go back to school ..their grade 8 educations are just not cutting it!!! Damn idiots!
honestly and without bias, just what the view of JW culture (i.e the people in the congregations in general) was of organ transplants during that time
Unthinkable, unnatural like Frankenstiein, just not done.
And especially, what of the following choices was the penalty?
I don't remember hearing any jw getting a transplant. I don't remember knowing what the penalty was, I guess I had assumed it would be DF because it was so unequivically against the rules. Then they flip flopped some more in print, but in talks it was crystal clear we were not supposed to take blood or transplants--spiritual people didn't do that, and you could be bloodguilty for stumbling others.
Any pertinent explanation you feel is helpful is also appreciated.
Not directly about organ transplants per se, but I was treated with terrible disdain for having hemophilia factor prior to becoming a jw, and they saw that as equal to transplants (and worse than single donor transfusions FYI). The words said to me as a child included niceties, such as, "cannibal", "vampire", "demonic", "thirsting for blood".
I was specifically told I was "damaged goods like a rape victim and most bros won't want to marry you. You will have to die and be resurrected to cleanse yourself from this." (But then resurrected ones won't marry either, so I was doomed to be celibate forever.)
(And I was in the situation described by Ray Franz, that they changed their minds to allow a single lifetime dose but didn't tell me.)
Just replying to give my thanks to all who replied to this thread. I appreciate the effort.
"Even now, though they have abandoned much of the egregious medical quackery spewed by the Golden Age, they continue to impose their groundless religious interpretations on their followers' most personal medical decisions. They rail against in-vitro fertilization (IVF), egg and sperm donation, surrogacy, etc., equating it with adultery."
IVF is banned? I never knew. That is just crazy.