Do JWs Have the Blood Thing All Wrong?

by Ginnydoll 0 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • Ginnydoll

    Mates, I'm new here. Look what I found in the Lord's Witnesses site on the blood issue.

    This appears to be a little different from the JW thing on blood components.

    Well, here is a section that Gordon never thought he would be writing! The LWs changed their stance on blood transfusions on November 9th 2004 (early morning) 2004Heshvan22, as a result of the work of Jeff Goldsmith, a son of Levi. He spent two months considering this issue and at the same time Barb in the US was considering it. They both focused on 1Samuel14. Geoff convinced Gordon and we finally understand the following:

    When someone attacks you, trying to kill you, they lose their right to their life, their blood. You gain the right to use their life, their blood, only to save your own. You can choose to kill them and spill their blood in self defence with impunity. If your life is in danger then you can make any use of their blood, their life, that in your judgment protects or saves your life, your blood. So you can make any life protecting use of an attacker's blood without his consent, since his attack on your life, your blood, is an implied consent. The legal effect of the attack is merely to grant a consent to the victim to use the attacker's blood in a life protecting way. Therefore you can make any life protecting use of a non attacker's blood with his consent. Therefore you can take a blood transfusion from a consenting person in order to protect your life.

    Putting this in a more simple way. God's law on blood exists to protect the sanctity of physical life which is represented by the blood and is owned by God. Therefore a use of blood which saves a life, does not break the law which forbid's abuse of blood. It is actually the purpose of blood to protect life!!!

    This is not true of God's law on idolatry. If a false worshipper tells you he will shoot you unless you do an act of false worship, the thing to do is to refuse, and if necessary, kill him, run or get shot.

    Here is the relevant part of 1Samuel14:

    23 And Jehovah proceeded on that day to save Israel, and the battle itself passed over to Beth-aven.
    24 And the men of Israel themselves were hard pressed on that day, and yet Saul put the people under the pledge of an oath, saying: Cursed is the man that eats bread before the evening and until I have taken vengeance upon my enemies! And none of the people tasted bread.
    25 And all those of the land came into the woods, when honey happened to be over all the surface of the field.
    26 When the people came into the woods, why, look! there was a dripping of honey, but there was no one putting his hand to his mouth, because the people were afraid of the oath.
    27 As for Jonathan, he had not been listening when his father put the people under an oath, so he stretched out the tip of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb and drew his hand back to his mouth, and his eyes began to beam.
    28 At this one of the people answered and said: Your father solemnly put the people under oath, saying, 'Cursed is the man that eats bread today!' And the people began to get tired.
    29 However, Jonathan said: My father has brought ostracism upon the land. See, please, how my eyes have beamed because I tasted this little bit of honey.
    30 How much more so if the people had but eaten today from the spoil of their enemies that they found! For now the slaughter upon the Philistines has not been great.
    31 And on that day they kept striking down the Philistines from Michmash to Aijalon, and the people got to be very tired.
    32 And the people began darting greedily at the spoil and taking sheep and cattle and calves and slaughtering them on the earth, and the people fell to eating along with the blood [they did not bleed them before they cooked them].
    33 So they told Saul, saying: Look! The people are sinning against Jehovah by eating along with the blood. At this he said: You have dealt treacherously. First of all, roll a great stone to me.
    34 After that Saul said: Scatter among the people, and you must say to them, 'Bring near to me, each one of you, his bull and, each one, his sheep, and you must do the slaughtering in this place and the eating, and you must not sin against Jehovah by eating along with the blood.' Accordingly all the people brought near each one his bull that was in his hand that night and did the slaughtering there.
    35 And Saul proceeded to build an altar to Jehovah. With it he started altar building to Jehovah.
    36 Later Saul said: Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning lightens up, and let us not leave a single one among them. To this they said: Anything that is good in your eyes do. Then the priest said: Let us approach here to the [true] God.
    37 And Saul began to inquire of God: Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel? And he did not answer him on that day.
    38 So Saul said: Come near here, all you keymen of the people, and ascertain and see in what way this sin has come to be today.
    39 For as Jehovah, who is the Deliverer of Israel, is alive, even if it is in Jonathan my son, yet he will positively die. But there was no one answering him out of all the people.
    40 And he went on to say to all Israel: You yourselves will come to be on the one side, and I and Jonathan my son -- we will come to be on the other side. At this the people said to Saul: What is good in your eyes do.
    41 And Saul proceeded to say to Jehovah: Oh God of Israel, do give Thummim! Then Jonathan and Saul were taken, and the people themselves went out.
    42 Saul now said: Cast lots to decide between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan got to be taken.
    43 Then Saul said to Jonathan: Do tell me, What have you done? So Jonathan told him and said: I did for a fact taste a little honey on the tip of the rod that is in my hand. Here I am! Let me die!
    45 At this Saul said: Thus may God do and thus may he add to it, if you do not positively die, Jonathan.
    45 But the people said to Saul: Is Jonathan to die, who has performed this great salvation in Israel? It is unthinkable! As Jehovah is alive, not as much as a single hair of his head will fall to the earth; for it was with God that he worked this day. With that the people redeemed Jonathan, and he did not die
    46 So Saul withdrew from following the Philistines, and the Philistines themselves went to their place (1 Samuel 14).

    This is a very interesting and technical account. Jonathon instigates an attack on the Philistines. Saul makes the people swear an unnecessary oath that limits their ability to do God's work. Jonathon inadvertently breaks this oath being unaware that it existed and God blesses him and the attack nonetheless. Saul then attempts to instigate a further attack on the Philistines but God does not indicate that he will bless the attack. It must have occurred to Saul, that he might be at fault because he asks for Thummim to decide whose fault it is that God refuses to bless a second attack instigated by Saul. The Thummim decides the fault lies with either Jonathon or Saul. Thummim should be used by the priest not by the king, but Saul may have asked the priest to use it. But then Saul did not say, use the Thummim again to decide between himself and Jonathon, instead he cast lots. But we know in the case of the false replacement apostle for Judas, Matthias, that casting lots does not always give the result God wants:

    23 So they put up 2, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
    24 And they prayed and said: You, Oh Jehovah, who know the hearts of all, designate which one of these 2 men you have chosen,
    25 to take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas deviated to go to his own place.
    26 So they cast lots over them, and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was reckoned along with the 11 apostles (Acts 1).

    Paul was the replacement for Judas, not Matthias. Jesus picks apostles - U165. So the lot came for Jonathon and Saul instantly and immediately condemned his own son to death, a son whose battle against the Philistines had been blessed by God all day long. In truth it was Saul who was to blame by putting his men in an impossible position with an oath that was tantamount to killing them. He took Israel into the oath in order to appear to be as courageous as his son Jonathon, with whom he was competing. He was actually jealous of his own son, and he risked the lives of the whole nation in order to enhance his popularity (he could have run for office today and won). Now God did not kill those of the sons of Israel who had eaten blood along with their meat. He could have instructed Saul to attack the Philistines and arranged for everyone who had eaten blood to be killed for example. He could have instructed Samuel to speak to Saul and tell him to kill everyone who had eaten blood. He could have sent an angel and struck them all down as he did in the case of 70,000 of those who agreed to be registered by Joab. But God did not punish any of his people, he merely embarrassed Saul by failing to bless him as he had blessed his son. This was in fact the perfect punishment for a King who had sought to increase his popularity by risking the lives of his soldiers. God's response was to save the lives of his soldiers and decrease the popularity of the King!

    Now clearly God did not make a mistake or forget about the men who had eaten the blood! So there must have been extenuating circumstances for the sons of Israel who abused blood. Well if you are prosecuting a war which requires you to chase after people and hack them to pieces with swords, then being tired and hungry and therefore weak is a life threatening problem. So the extenuating circumstances were that the soldiers were in mortal danger. If the Philistines had launched a counter attack on tired hungry and weak Jews, the result could have been lethal. So obviously there are circumstances wherein abusing blood carries no penalty. We deduce from this account that such circumstances are when the abuse of blood is for the purpose of saving or protecting life. Here is some more simple blood logic...

    10 As for any man of the house of Israel or some alien resident who is residing as an alien in your midst who eats any sort of blood, I shall certainly set my face against the soul that is eating the blood, and I shall indeed cut him off from among his people.
    11 For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls,
    because it is the blood that makes atonement by the soul [in it].
    12 That is why I have said to the sons of Israel: No soul of you must eat blood and no alien resident who is residing as an alien in your midst should eat blood (Leviticus 17).

    So the only permissible use of blood under law was sacrificial in order to redeem your soul. The purpose of a sacrifice being to save life. So God only permits blood to be used sacrificially in order save life. So if someone sacrifices his own blood in order to save another persons life, through a blood transfusion, then that is precisely the permitted use of blood by God. In fact the one who sacrifices his blood in order to save another's life is doing what Jesus did with his blood, is he not? And the one who sacrifices his kidney in order to save his brother's life is likewise doing what Jesus did with his body, surely? For we both eat his body and drink his blood.

    If we are Christians, should we not then sacrifice both our body parts and our blood in order to save our brother's lives, like our examplar Jesus Christ did, in order to save all of our lives?

    Or shall we stand here, saved by the sacrificial use of Jesus' body and blood, claiming to be following in his footsteps, but forbidding the sacrificial use of our own body or our own blood to save anyone else ? doh!

    So dear brothers and sisters in the patriarchs of Israel and in the cherubs of God (both JWs and LWs and all men of faith in God or in the goodness of man), we have become like our archetypes the Pharisees whom we deride. We have gulped down the law of Moses and strained out its lesson and its fulfilment, which is the absolute necessity of the sacrifice of one man?s body and blood for another.
    What if you take or are forced to take a blood transfusion?

    The answer is no because the baptism symbolically washes not just your blood but effectively your blood production organs, such as your spleen and your bone marrow. If it only symbolically washed your blood cells, then since they all perish after a few months, your baptism would ' run out'! So after a few months (and certainly less that 7 months) the foreign blood cells will have all died and your spirit baptism will be returned to you.

    If you receive a blood transfusion unknowingly or against your will, then you are in the position of a woman who has been raped. So long as you 'screamed' (if that was possible - Deuteronomy 22) you can be returned to the congregation immediately. If you are under 20, then you can return immediately in all circumstances once you have recovered from the blood transfusion since you are not under congregation law.

    23 In case there happened to be a virgin girl engaged to a man, and a man actually found her in the city and lay down with her,
    24 You must also bring them both out to the gate of that city and pelt them with stones, and they must die, the girl for the reason that she did not scream in the city, and the man for the reason that he humiliated the wife of his fellowman. So you must clear away what is evil from your midst.
    25 If, however, it is in the field that the man found the girl who was engaged, and the man grabbed hold of her and lay down with her, the man who lay down with her must also die by himself,
    26 and to the girl you must do nothing. The girl has no sin deserving of death, because just as when a man rises up against his fellowman and indeed murders him, even a soul, so it is with this case (Deuteronomy 22:23-26).

    [1] Any baptised LW who is 20 years old or more by Hebrew reckoning who willingly takes a blood transfusion of blood other than his/her own is disfellowshipped for 7 months unless the blood transfusion was necessary to save his/her life or to prevent a life threatening situation.

    [2] Any baptised LW who is 20 years old or more by Hebrew reckoning who willingly donates blood without a guarantee from the person to whom he gives it that the blood will only be used to save a life or to prevent a life threatening situation is disfellowshipped for 7 months.

    [3] God's law as we understand does permit blood transfusions only in life threatening situations. If you take a transfusion in these circumstances we recommend that you ask for blood filtered with a 4th generation log6 filter to limit your exposure to the immune system of the donor.

    Artificial blood is OK, your own blood is OK, and white cell free blood (not white cell reduced blood) is OK. But at this point the technology for white cell free blood, which is the holy grail of blood transfusion medicine, is not yet available. As we understand it.
    [J7.1] Blood Components

    The JWs as of November 2004 still ban major blood components, which they deem to be red cells, white cells, plasma and platelets, but permit fractions of those components. In particular they used to ban factor 8 for hemophiliacs (but no longer do as it is a fraction of a component). Now it is obvious that all blood components cannot be banned because water is a component of blood. So which components of blood are the sacred part? Well the answer is found in Leviticus 17:14 above or in Genesis:

    Only flesh with its soul - its blood - you must not eat (Genesis 9:4).

    Blood represents or is the soul, the life of the flesh. It feeds the flesh. So it is the components of blood which represent life which must be avoided. These are the living components of blood quite obviously, the blood cells. So blood cells should be avoided, if they are alive. By this we mean, platelets, leucocytes (white blood cells) etc. but not erythrocytes (red blood cells), because erythrocytes are dead by the following scriptural yardstick:

    The word of God is alive and exerts power (Hebrews 4:12).

    The Word of God is alive in the sense that is has different meanings at different times, in other words it is not static in meaning. It has the ability to change its character. Something which is alive is not passive, it is active with the ability to change itself. Red cells, having no nucleus, cannot change their constitution, so they are dead, in the sense of Hebrews 4:12. Blood plasma which is devoid of all living cells can be transfused without violating God's laws, because it is none of it alive.

    So returning to the Haemophiliac, we see that factor 8, being a dead chemical compound, can be transfused, ingested or taken intravenously without sin. At this point there may be some readers who burst into tears, and quite rightly so. For there are a number of Jehovah's witnesses who were haemophiliacs, who may have been known to the reader, and who have died unnecessarily as a result of the false and ignorant teachings of the Society on blood we believe. In fact there may even have been some bible students who have died before they were baptised because of their faith and because of the negligence of the Governing body in this respect. Fortunately we have a God who appreciates what these faithful people have done, and if he resurrects anyone, he will resurrect them. But he may well ask back their blood from the governing body of the Witnesses. For these leaders are bloodguilty men in this respect not by intent, but by negligence. It does not take a genius to work out that it is the living components of blood that Acts 15, Leviticus 17 and Genesis 9 refer to.

    In this regard Gordon must say the following: "You know my bible research reminds me of a situation that I often see at work. In my office we have a team of people who have the job of compiling the statistics on how well the business is doing. One of my businesses makes around £15,000 per week ($23,000). On one particular week I was handed figures showing that my business had made £150,000 ($230,000) !!! For the previous 50 weeks it had always made between £10,000 ($16,000) and £20,000 ($32,000). The whole statistics department just handed me these figures without comment. They didn't even realise that the figures were ludicrous. They didn't even think that if we really had made ten times more money that week than we had in every other preceding week then we would all have been doing ten times more work that week than usual which would have been totally impossible. What this whole department did was write down figures without thinking about them, without understanding them and without caring about what they could possibly mean. It was a vacuous exercise that they were performing. At that moment I knew exactly how God feels about his people who read his book.

    They nearly all read it without understanding a word, because they are not prepared to think about what it might mean, just like my statistics department. It is truly maddening! Dear reader: Do not be like my statistics department used to be, please ! It's like God told Isaiah to say to his true people, to the true people of God mind you:

    Hear again and again, Oh men, but do not understand. And see again and again but do not get any knowledge (Isaiah 6:9)."

    So it is ok to take factor 8. It is ok to take blood plasma, so long as it has no living cells in it. And it is OK to take any blood component at all if it is necessary to save your life or to avoid a life threatening situation.
    White blood Cell Free blood - a further hope !

    The reason that blood transfusions save lives, is that the life is in the blood, in the sense that the red cells carry the oxygen needed for the brain and the rest of the flesh. A common usage of a blood transfusion which can save life is after a car crash where the patient has lost a lot of blood and is still bleeding. Now the advantage of a blood transfusion is that the new red cells keep feeding the patients brain with oxygen and therefore keep him alive until the bleeding can be stopped. The patient is just like a carton of orange with a hole in it. If you cannot plug the hole then you can maintain the level of orange by adding more juice. The disadvantage of this therapy is that the new red cells and all of the other blood cells which are transfused into the bleeding patient are foreign to the patient's body. So the patient's own white cells then start a war with all of the new foreign blood cells. This can cause the patient real problems if his body was say fighting cancer at the time of the transfusion. Also there are the dangers of picking up whatever blood borne diseases the blood donor had, such as Aids, Hepatitis or BSE. These are real dangers today.

    We are wondering if it would be possible to kill or remove all of the white blood cells from whole blood. Can one prepare a Red Blood Cell only transfusion? This would not break God's law as we understand it, because the whole transfusion would be a dead chemical soup. This idea was first proposed by Francis Flukka in an email to Gordon Ritchie.

    Now the best modern transfusions have a reduced white blood cell count. A typical unit of whole blood has around 5 x 109 White cells, or 5 billion white cells and around 3000 billion red cells. Modern third generation blood filters can reduce the white blood cell count to 5 x 106 cells per unit, or 5 million cells per unit. Frozen deglycerolised blood has around the same reduction in white cells. Both filtered blood and frozen deglycerolised blood eliminate febrile reactions and Cytomegalovirus transmission from blood transfusions. It is an interesting statistic the 94% of blood in US blood banks is thrown away because it can only be stored for around 40 days and yet frozen blood which can be kept indefinitely and certainly for 10 years, is apparently uneconomic?

    There are new 4th generation filters in development which can reduce the white blood cell count further to 5 x 103 white blood cells per unit. These are called log6 filters because they reduce the white cell count by a million times which is 106 times and log106 = 6. Such blood would be the safest possible in transfusion terms, and in fact one article in the Lancet (by Janet Fricker March 9, 1996), about biochemically changing red cells from type A or AB to type O, described the 'Holy Grail' of blood transfusion as type O red cell only blood. This blood could be given to anyone with no adverse consequences at all (since HIV and the various herpes virus HSVs and the various Hepatitus viruses and HTLV and Epstein Barr antibodies are transferred via the white cells - so long as they do not somehow get stuck to the red cells). Such a transfusion, if truly dead, i.e. carrying no living viruses, unsurprisingly, would not break God's spiritual laws. In fact the physical is designed to illustrate the spiritual. One wonders what all of the different blood types illustrate. It must be something to do with baptisms and covenants, and blood of mediators. One wonders what blood type Jesus was in this symbolism??

    Now a unit of blood with only 5 thousand white cells in it is pretty impressive and is pretty safe. It has only got a handful of WBCs in every cc. But a Christian would be sinning 5 thousand times if he took it in a non life threatening situation physiologically speaking. We need a blood unit which has either no white cells or an immeasurably low count of them. The Lord's witnesses hope to promote research to create such a transfusion, either by chemical treatment, by even better filters, by freezing or howsoever. Many JWs have died from refusal to accept blood transfusions, and if the truth be known many although less have survived through not accepting blood transfusions due to HIV etc.

    This is a complex subject, but God has given us the reasoning power to solve the equation. It would be an honour and a privilege to get this one right for him and for his people and for his ex people who still hold true to the blood prohibition of Acts 15. Anyone reading this who can think of a way to prepare true red cell only transfusions please contact us, you may well save many lives. It occurs to Gordon that blood filtration is designed to yield at least 80% of the original red cells. But if this figure was allowed to be reduced to say 10%, there would be an 8 times reduction in red cells but possibly an 8,000 times reduction in white cells and we might almost be there. And then the blood could be concentrated by a factor of 8 (not to be confused with factor 8!) to return it to 80% of its initial RBC count. This would cost 8 times as much per blood unit however. Multi stage filtering is one possibility. But the Christian would be willing to pay the extra cost to save his/her life without breaking God's law one would imagine.

    Alternatively if one could just kill all the living cells in whole blood and then transfuse it immediately afterwards, this would not break God's law, since no living cells would be transfused. It would pose no danger of infection or of degraded immune response to the patient, since the war against the foreign cells is already won seeing as they are dead before they are transfused. If one could say irradiate the blood just before transfusing it, or chemically treat it, in order to kill the living matter, we would have both solved the problem of Blood Transfusions for sincere Christians and developed a better therapy for the rest of the world, because this treated transfusion would be risk free! There are some chemotherapy treatments that might be able to do this.

    If this improved therapy works it would be a therapy developed as a direct result of biblical knowledge. Irradiated blood is currently used in blood transfusion therapy in the cases of cancer patients and blood relatives where TAGVHD transfusion associated graft versus host disease can be a problem in a small number of cases. Actually a lethal problem. Blood is given between 2,500 and 5,000 rads, which prevents the leucocytes (white cells) from dividing and which knocks out some of the platelets but which does not kill/burst the red blood cells. It is not known to have any bad side effects at this time - see 'Guidelines for irradiation of blood and blood components' - New York State Council on human blood and transfusion services - . We are wondering whether there is a dosage of radiation which will kill the white cells without bursting the red cells.

    Finally, of course, it is ok to eat black pudding, haggis, rare steaks, sushi, etc., so long as the blood cells in the rare meat are actually dead. We do not know how long blood cells live after an animal is slaughtered. Some research should be done here.

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