Has the Watchtower Society Really Changed its Stand on Blood Transfusions
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Lorri MacGregor; ©April 2001|
|A recent announcement from the Watchtower Society has indicated that taking a blood transfusion would no longer be a “disfellowshipping offense.” But, once the rhetoric is cleared away, what does the announcement really say? Lorri MacGregor clears up the wording for us.|
In recent times a lot of excitement was generated when it appeared that the Society was softening its stand on blood. It was announced that taking a blood transfusion would no longer be a disfellowshipping offense, as this would be a matter for one’s own conscience. When all the smoke cleared it became apparent that if one took a blood transfusion, he disassociated himself—the elders didn’t have to do it! The end result remained the same, but it sounded better to the outside world.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses released a “Statement to the Media” under date of June 14, 2000 lest anyone think they had really altered their pet doctrine. It restated their stand that no donor blood transfusions were allowed. The Jehovah’s Witness was innocent if transfused against his will under duress.
If a blood transfusion was accepted in a “moment of weakness” and regrets set in immediately and one threw oneself on the mercy of the elders, he could be helped. If there were no regrets, he had disassociated himself, saving the elders the trouble. Basically, same old, same old.
The only matter left up to one’s conscience was the taking of blood factors, which permitted albumin, EPO, blood serums/immunoglobulins, and hemophiliac treatments (clotting factors VIII and IX). These may constitute only a small fraction of whole blood, but really, blood is blood. Those deciding to take these treatments should ask themselves, “Am I really abstaining from blood?” Of course not, but the Society allows this.
What about the “Aids” Argument?
The Jehovah’s Witnesses feel they have been vindicated for their unpopular stand against taking blood transfusions because AIDS is transmitted by blood. This argument, like most of theirs, is flawed. Why? How many people have died as a result of AIDS-tainted blood, compared with Jehovah’s Witness deaths from refusing blood? No contest!
AIDS is also transmitted by the blood factors which the Society allows! Also, the AIDS virus is transmitted in all body fluids, not just blood.
Is Transfusing “Eating” Blood? Not Anymore!
One bit of silliness was quietly dropped by the Society some time ago. This was the longstanding doctrine that transfusing blood was the same as “eating blood” to provide nutrition for the body. They had to believe “transfusing” equaled “eating,” because all the biblical prohibitions on blood concern “eating.” The medical fact, painfully obvious to all but Watchtower Headquarters, is that blood transfusions do not nourish the body. Now they are majoring on the scripture fragment… “abstain from blood” (Acts 15:28,29) and equating blood transfusions with organ transplants.
Their inconsistencies go even further. A Jehovah’s Witness cannot store his own blood to be used in a later surgery. However, he can lie on the operating table and have his blood leave his body, proceed through a heart-lung machine, and re-enter his body “briefly.” No scriptures are cited to show the difference between the two. Blood left the body in both cases and returned later. How long is “briefly”?
Jesus was far more merciful than the present day leadership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He stated a Bible principal in Mark 7:14 when He said, “Nothing that goes into a man from the outside can make him unclean.”
Therefore, Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be “unclean” if they receive a blood product, either by eating it, or receiving a transfusion. Yet, not only are they considered “unclean,” they are considered unworthy of eternal life. What man- made harsh penalties are meted out on these poor people!
In Old Testament times, God often set aside His strict laws to save a life, demonstrating the Bible principal of mercy to His people. Circumstances were taken into consideration by God. Lives were important to Him. Jesus likewise set aside the strict Jewish Sabbath law to save lives. He said, “What I want is mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 12:8).
Why then do Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to sacrifice their own lives for the Society, refusing to consider God’s numerous examples of His mercy?
Bloodless Surgery and the Hospital Liaison Committee
Jehovah’s Witnesses have tried all sorts of ploys regarding their blood doctrine. They have arranged for hospitals where bloodless surgery can be performed and have set up liaison arrangements to find locations for Jehovah’s Witnesses to have surgery, but not blood. Cracks have appeared in this arrangement. Some members of the Hospital Liaison Committee have resigned, along with a number of elders. They have defied the Society’s ban on the Internet to post a site run by “The Associated Jehovah’s Witnesses for Reform on Blood.” All contacts are strictly confidential. E-mail them at email@example.com or write to them at P.O. Box 190089, Boise, ID 83719-0089 USA.
These are not dissidents, but active Jehovah’s Witnesses who want reform on the blood doctrine! High time!
According to the January 1, 2001 Watchtower Magazine, Jehovah’s Witnesses had average publishers worldwide of 5,783,003 and average pioneers (full-time) 805,205, for a grand total worldwide of 6,588,208.
The Red Cross estimates that one in five persons would need blood at some point in their lives. That would translate to 1,317,642 Jehovah’s Witnesses who could find themselves faced with the blood issue.
While the Watchtower Society does not publish many figures on blood, the October 15, 1993 Watchtower, page 32 had this statistic: “The Jehovah’s Witness patient’s decision to forego transfusions for major surgical procedures appears to add 0.5% to 1.5% mortality to the overall operative risk.”
How very interesting! Let’s apply this small percentage to the one in five Jehovah’s Witnesses who might need blood, and we have an unnecessary death count of 6,588 to 19,764. This is too many people! Way worse than the Jim Jones massacre in the jungle, or the Waco tragedy, yet it receives no publicity since Jehovah’s Witnesses die quietly, one at a time, in hospitals and homes all over the world.
Let’s not forget those who have refused blood and survived, to lead handicapped lives. These are often put on the government dole and forgotten, if they are not well enough to perform “service” for the Society.
In summary, it looks like the Watchtower Society is not softening its stand on blood transfusions as many expected after the death of the doctrine’s advocate, the late Fred Franz. So much the worse for Jehovah’s Witnesses. All we can hope is that they will turn to the pages of the Bible alone, and research this out for themselves. This false doctrine is a killer!