Questions about Blood from an Honest Elder
|By: Lorri MacGregor; ©February 2002|
|Recently the Watchtower Society has said that Jehovah’s Witnesses can “take some components derived from blood, using their own conscience as a guide.” Why some and not others? Will their “scriptural” rationale stand up to investigation? Hardly, says Lorri MacGregor.|
We recently perused a 44-page document between an active Jehovah’s Witness Elder and the Governing Body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The document, comprising a series of letters back and forth between this elder and the Watchtower headquarters, was smuggled out of Bethel in New York at great personal risk to some still on staff there. The elder did not make this information public. The headquarters staff said this, “We hope the elder who wrote these letters will understand why we had to make them public. Our prayers are for him and the many more like him.”
We trust this elder will not face public disgrace and disfellowshipping from his friends and family since this document escaped to the Internet without his knowledge. However, we are realists, and we know it is just not possible to ask honest-hearted questions and still remain in good standing within the Organization.
This elder worked in the medical field and was constantly in the company of physicians and insurance claims examiners. As a proud Jehovah’s Witness, he attempted to witness to them and set a good example for the group. However, they closely questioned the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ stand on blood transfusions. He did his best. He researched all the literature, approached different elders and circuit overseers, but none could answer his troubling questions. He was driven into the Scriptures in depth and cried out to Jehovah God for help in understanding the Society’s stand. All he could do, finally, was follow the advice from other elders and “ask the Society.”
This elder should receive some kind of award for patiently waiting. Watchtower headquarters should receive some kind of award for stonewalling. These simple questions dragged on for years. Blood transfusions are still banned.
The “dispute” arose over recent changes to rules on blood for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Governing body recently saw fit to allow Jehovah’s Witnesses to take some components derived from blood, using their own conscience as a guide. They believed they had the direction of the Holy Spirit to direct their members to go ahead and take blood components, as long as they were from the fractions of protein, hormone, salts, or enzyme components. They can do this without facing disciplinary action from the elders. However, they don’t dare take blood components derived from red cells, white cells, platelets, or plasma, or they will face disciplinary action! (Expulsion from the congregation and loss of eternal life.)
The earnest elder saw right through this hypocrisy and asked “…Scripturally, what makes red cells coming from whole blood different from proteins coming from whole blood, making one a matter of interest judicially and the other of no judicial interest?”
The Watchtower has always maintained that blood equates with life, and that blood must be poured out on the ground and not used for any purpose. They say these instructions from God to Noah in Genesis, chapter nine, are binding on all mankind. A careful reading of this chapter shows it is telling Noah not to eat un-bled meat for food.
Nevertheless, they have somehow escalated these simple instructions into the complex rules now in force regarding blood transfusions, coupling a few sentences from Genesis with a fragment of scripture from Acts 15:29 to form their blood doctrine.
The elder asked Headquarters how come they were allowing some blood components made from discarded blood to be used by Jehovah’s Witnesses, when, in other places, they say blood must not be used for any purpose, but just poured out? He provided them with copious conflicting references from their own writings. Why, indeed?
Headquarters should receive an award for creative evasion, for responding that Jesus’ workers plucked and ate grains from the field, but didn’t harvest the whole field so what they did was very minor, and so were these blood components! Talk about stretching the credibility factor to new lengths! This account has nothing to do with the subject of blood. Ridiculous.
His doctor friends pointed out to the elder that the blood from the mother, including all its components, passed to the baby in her womb, providing sustaining nourishment, and technically breaking Jehovah’s Witness rules—using one’s blood to sustain another. Likewise, the elder asked headquarters, could Eve have been excused if she took just a tiny bite out of the forbidden fruit? Or, did a small portion make her just as guilty?
The elder valiantly suggested, correctly so, with many Scripture references, that the blood issue be revisited. He rightly pointed out that the pouring out of blood was binding on the Israelites, but never on the Gentiles. The Society always taught that the Gentiles were not under the law on the one hand, but used fragments of the law to enforce their stand on prohibition of blood, on the other. Well, you can’t have it both ways unless you’re the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses apparently.
When their weak arguments and misuse of Scripture fragments were all lovingly, butfirmly dissected by this elder, and found to be inaccurate and misleading, what did they do?
They retreated to their tired refrain about being Jehovah’s Faithful and Discreet Slave who alone were dispensers of truth in its season, and this brother should just “wait on Jehovah.” In other words, “stop asking embarrassing questions and leave us alone!”
However, this elder is right. Headquarters, you need to either forbid blood entirely, (without Scriptural support), or let the taking of any kind of blood, whole or in components, be a matter of each Jehovah’s Witness conscience. Many innocent lives have already been lost. You know you are wrong, but can’t seem to admit it. You will one day stand before God with blood on your hands!