The Premise – Fact or Myth?
This is the first in a series of five articles I have prepared that relate to the No Blood doctrine of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Let me first say that I have been an active Jehovah’s Witness my entire life. For the majority of my years, I was a passionate card-carrying supporter of the No Blood doctrine, ready to refuse a potentially life-saving intervention to remain in lockstep solidarity with fellow believers. My belief in the doctrine relied upon the premise that an intravenous infusion of blood represents a form of nutrition (nourishment or food) for the body. Belief that this premise is fact is essential if such texts as Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:10-11 and Acts 15:29 (which all relate to eating animal blood) are to be considered as relevant.
May I first emphasize that I am not an advocate for blood transfusions. Studies have proven that a blood transfusion can result in complications both during and after surgery, at times with fatal outcomes. For certain, avoiding transfusion reduces the risk of complications. There are, however, circumstances (e.g. hemorrhagic shock from massive blood loss) where transfusion intervention may be the only therapy for preserving life. A growing number of Witnesses are beginning to understand this risk, but the vast majority do not.
In my experience, Jehovah’s Witnesses and their position on the blood doctrine can be separated into three groups:
- Those who hold the premise (blood is nourishment) is fact. These are often older ones who refuse even minor blood fractions.
- Those who doubt the premise is fact. They have not yet come to realize that the premise (blood is nourishment) is the critical link for the doctrine to be scripturally based. These may have no issue accepting blood derivatives. While they continue to support the doctrine publicly, they privately struggle with what they would do if they (or their loved one) faced an emergency. Some in this group do not maintain updated medical information.
- Those who have done extensive research and are convinced the premise is a myth. These no longer carry their No Blood cards. They are informed on medical procedures and advances. If they remain in active association in congregations, they must remain silent regarding their position. These do have a strategy in place in the event of a life-threatening emergency.
For the Witness, it boils down to one simple question: Do I believe the premise is fact or myth?
I invite you to consider the premise again. Understand that the doctrine is scriptural only if the premise that blood transfusions amount to nourishment is fact. If it is a myth, then every day millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are placing their lives at risk adhering to an organizational teaching, not a Biblical one. It is vital that all Jehovah’s Witnesses research this for themselves. The purpose of this and subsequent articles is to share the results of my personal research. If this information could accelerate the learning process for even one person currently uninformed before they or their loved one has to face a life-threatening situation, my prayer is answered. The Governing Body does encourage outside research in this area. An essential element to research is learning the early history of the No Blood doctrine.
The Architects of the No Blood Doctrine
The chief architect of the No Blood doctrine was Clayton J. Woodworth, one of the seven Bible Students who were imprisoned in 1918. He was an editor and textbook writer before becoming a member of the Brooklyn Bethel family in 1912. He became editor of The Golden Age magazine at its inception in 1919, and remained such for 27 years (including the years of Consolation). In 1946 he was relieved of his duties due to advancing age. That year the magazine’s name was changed to Awake!. He passed away in 1951, at the ripe old age of 81.
Though having no formal education in medicine, it appears that Woodworth fancied himself as an authority on health care. The Bible Students (later called Jehovah’s Witnesses) enjoyed a steady stream of rather peculiar health care advice from him. The following are but a few examples:
“Disease is Wrong Vibration. From what has thus far been said, it will be apparent to all that any disease is simply an ‘out of tune’ condition of some part of the organism. In other words, the affected part of the body ‘vibrates’ higher or lower than normal…I have named this new discovery…the Electronic Radio Biola,….The Biola automatically diagnoses and treats diseases by the use of electronic vibrations. The diagnosis is 100 percent correct, rendering better service in this respect than the most experienced diagnostician, and without any attending cost.” (The Golden Age, April 22, 1925, pp. 453-454).
“Thinking people would rather have smallpox than vaccination, because the latter sows the seed of syphilis, cancers, eczema, erysipelas, scrofula, consumption, even leprosy and many other loathsome afflictions. Hence the practice of vaccination is a crime, an outrage and a delusion.” (The Golden Age, 1929, p. 502)
“We do well to bear in mind that among the drugs, serums, vaccines, surgical operations, etc., of the medical profession, there is nothing of value save an occasional surgical procedure. Their so-called “science” grew out of Egyptian black magic and has not lost its demonological character…we shall be in a sad plight when we place the welfare of the race in their hands…Readers of The Golden Age know the unpleasant truth about the clergy; they should also know the truth about the medical profession, which sprang from the same demon worshipping shamans (doctor priests) as did the ‘doctors of divinity.’” (The Golden Age, Aug. 5, 1931 pp. 727-728)
“There is no food that is right food for the morning meal. At breakfast is no time to break a fast. Keep up the daily fast until the noon hour… Drink plenty of water two hours after each meal; drink none just before eating; and a small quantity if any at meal time. Good buttermilk is a health drink at meal times and in between. Do not take a bath until two hours after eating a meal, nor closer than one hour before eating. Drink a full glass of water both before and after the bath.” (The Golden Age, Sept. 9, 1925, pp. 784-785) “The earlier in the forenoon you take the sun bath, the greater will be the beneficial effect, because you get more of the ultra-violet rays, which are healing” (The Golden Age, Sept. 13, 1933, p. 777)
In her book Flesh and Blood: Organ Transplantation and Blood Transfusion In Twentieth-Century America (2008 pp. 187-188) Dr. Susan E. Lederer (Associate Professor of the History of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine) had this to say about Clayton J. Woodworth (Boldface added ):
“After Russell’s death in 1916, the editor of the second major Witness publication, The Golden Age, embarked on a campaign against orthodox medicine. Clayton J. Woodworth blasted the American medical profession as an ‘institution founded on ignorance, error, and superstition.’ As an editor, he sought to persuade his fellow Witnesses about the shortcomings of modern medicine, including the evils of aspirin, the chlorination of water, the germ theory of disease, aluminum cooking pots and pans, and vaccination,’ Woodworth wrote, ‘because the latter sows the seed of syphilis, cancer, eczema, erysipelas, scrofula, consumption, even leprosy, and many other loathsome afflictions.’ This hostility toward regular medical practice was one element of the Witness response to blood transfusion.”
So we see that Woodworth manifested a hostility toward regular medical practice. Are we the least bit surprised that he objected to blood transfusions? Sadly, his personal view did not remain private. It was embraced by the then principals of the Society, President Nathan Knorr and Vice-President Fredrerick Franz.[i] Subscribers of The Watchtower were first introduced to the No Blood doctrine in the July 1, 1945 issue. This article included numerous pages dealing with the biblical command to not eat blood. The scriptural reasoning was sound, but applicable only if the premise was fact, namely; that a transfusion was equivalent to eating blood. Contemporary medical thinking had (by 1945) advanced far beyond such an antiquated notion. Woodworth chose to ignore the science of his day and instead initiated a doctrine that relied upon the antiquated medical practice of centuries past.
Note how Professor Lederer continues:
“The Witness interpretation of the Biblical application to transfusion relied on an older understanding of the role of blood in the body, namely that blood transfusion represented a form of nutrition for the body. The Watchtower article [July 1, 1945] cited an entry from the 1929 Encyclopedia, in which blood was described as the principal medium by which the body is nourished. But this thinking did not represent contemporary medical thinking. In fact, the description of blood as nourishment or food was the view of seventeenth-century physicians. That this represented centuries-old, rather than current, medical thinking on transfusion did not appear to trouble the Jehovah’s Witnesses.” [Boldface added]
So these three men (C. Woodworth, N. Knorr, F. Franz) decided to create a doctrine based upon the thinking of seventeenth-century physicians. Given that the lives of hundreds of thousands of subscribers to The Watchtower were involved, should we not view such a decision as reckless and irresponsible? Rank-and-file members believed that these men were guided by God’s holy spirit. Few, if any, had sufficient knowledge to challenge the arguments and references they presented. A policy that could (and often did) involve a life-or-death decision for thousands depended upon the merits of an archaic notion. This stance had the unintended (or not) consequence of keeping Jehovah’s Witnesses in the limelight and perpetuated the impression that JWs were the only true Christians; the only ones who would put their lives on the line in defense of true Christianity.
Remaining Separate from the World
Professor Lederer shares some interesting context surrounding the Witnesses at the time.
“During World War II, as the American National Red Cross mobilized efforts to collect massive amounts of blood for the Allies, Red Cross officials, public relations people, and politicians construed blood donation on the home front as the patriotic duty of all healthy Americans. For this reason alone, blood donation may have aroused the suspicion of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In both World War I and World War II, the hostility of Witnesses to secular government created tensions with the American government. The refusal to support the war effort by serving in the armed forces led to the imprisonment of the sect’s conscientious objectors.” [Boldface added]
By 1945 the fervor of patriotism was running high. Leadership had earlier decided that for a young man to perform civilian service when drafted would be a compromise of neutrality (a position finally reversed with “new light” in 1996). Many young brothers were imprisoned for refusing to perform civilian service. Here, we had a country that viewed donating blood as the patriotic thing to do, while in contrast, young Witness men would not even perform civilian service in lieu of serving in the military.
How could Jehovah’s Witnesses donate blood that might save a soldier’s life? Would it not be viewed as supporting the war effort?
Instead of reversing the policy and allowing young Witness men to accept civilian service, leadership dug their heels in and enacted the No Blood policy. It mattered not that the policy relied upon an abandoned, centuries-old premise, widely acknowledged as unscientific. During the war, Jehovah’s Witnesses were the target of much ridicule and harsh persecution. When the war was over and the fervor of patriotism subsided, might not leadership have viewed the No Blood doctrine as a means to maintain JWs in the spotlight, knowing that this position would inevitably lead to cases in the Supreme Court? Instead of fighting for the right to refuse to salute the flag and for the right to go from door to door, the fight was now for the freedom to choose to end your life or the life of your child. If the agenda of leadership was to keep Witnesses separate from the world, it worked. Jehovah’s Witnesses were in the spotlight again, fighting case after case for more than a decade. Some cases involved newborns and even the unborn.
A Doctrine Forever Etched in Stone
In summary, it is this writer’s opinion that the No Blood doctrine was born in response to paranoia surrounding wartime patriotism and the American Red Cross blood drive. We can now understand how such a travesty was put in motion. In fairness to the men responsible, they were expecting Armageddon to arrive at any moment. This surely influenced their shortsightedness. But then, who do we hold responsible for the speculation that Armageddon was so near? The organization became victims of their own speculation. They likely felt that since Armageddon was so near, few would be affected by this doctrine, and, hey, there’s always the resurrection, right?
When the first member of the Organization refused blood and died due to hemorrhagic shock (presumably soon after the 7/1/45 Watchtower was published), the doctrine was forever etched in stone. It could never ever be rescinded. The Society’s leadership had hung an enormous millstone round the neck of the Organization; one that threatened its credibility and its assets. One that could be removed only in the event of one of the following:
- A viable blood substitute
- Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Obviously, none have happened to date. With the passing of each decade, the millstone has grown exponentially larger, as hundreds of thousands have placed their lives at risk in compliance with the doctrine. We can only guess at how many have experienced an untimely death as a result of adhering to a command of men. (There is a silver lining for the medical profession discussed in Part 3). Generations of Organization leadership have inherited this nightmare of a millstone. To their dismay, these guardians of doctrine have been forced into a position that requires they defend the indefensible. In an effort to sustain their credibility and protect Organization assets, they have had to sacrifice their integrity, not to mention the greater sacrifice in human suffering and loss of life.
The clever misapplication of Proverbs 4:18 effectively backfired, as it provided the architects of the No Blood doctrine with rope sufficient to hang the organization. Being convinced of their own speculation regarding the imminence of Armageddon, they became oblivious to the long range ramifications of the action. The No Blood doctrine remains unique in comparison to all other doctrinal teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Any other teaching can be rescinded or abandoned using the “new light” trump card that leadership invented for themselves. (Proverbs 4:18). However, that trump card can’t be played to rescind the No Blood doctrine. A reversal would be an admission by leadership that the doctrine was never biblical. It would open the flood gates and could lead to financial ruin.
The claim must be that our No Blood doctrine is biblical for the belief to be protected under the Constitution (First Amendment – Free exercise of religion). Yet for us to make the claim the belief is biblical, the premise must be true. If a transfusion is not eating blood, would not John 15:13 clearly allow for donating one’s blood to help his neighbor remain living:
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Donating blood does not require one to lay down his life. In fact, donating blood brings no harm to the donor whatsoever. It can mean life to the one receiving the donor’s blood or derivatives (fractions) produced from donor blood.
In Part 2 we continue with the history from 1945 to the present. We will note the subterfuge employed by the Society Leadership to attempt to defend the indefensible. We also address the premise, proving it unmistakably to be a myth.
[i] For most of the 20th century, Witnesses referred to the organization and its leadership as “the Society”, based on a shortening of the legal name, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society.
Just last week in a discussion with a very active JW I asked, in regard to the allowed fractions vs. whole blood, just what was the actual difference between 100 pennies and a dollar bill? The silence was deafening.
Have enjoyed your site for some time. Your calm and loving tenor is refreshing.
Thank you Jack, what an excellent analogy.
Hate WTS. Ok then go find an organization that keeps God’s laws and standards and does the preaching work Jesus instructed. Oh, there isn’t one. Right there isn’t one. Only groups that continue to accept behavior that the WORLD deems modern and acceptable. JW don’t answer to an organization. God see all things. We answer to him.
Actually, Christians answer to Jesus Christ to be accurate. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses most definitely do answer to the Governing Body since they are expected to accept the teachings of the Governing Body as if from God himself.
[…] doctrines of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society constitute false teachings. If the teachings on blood, disfellowshipping, 1914, 1919, the overlapping generations, and the other sheep are false, how can […]
John Harvey Kellogg was a still Seventh Day Adventist at the time he wrote the passage hereunder (in 1901), long before the 1945 Watchtower article. If he had lived till the time of blood transfusions, he would have had to decide whether they were forbidden by Acts 15 and the Noachian Covenant. From Medical Missionary and Gospel of Health Volume X; page 259: “But,” says the flesh eater, “that was in the old dispensation, under the law of Moses. The eating of blood may have been a sin then, but not at the present time.” This can not be admitted,… Read more »
The July 1, 1945, Watchtower article mentioned blood transfusion, but the article was not primarily about blood transfusions. It asserted a new position in the old Christian debate about the applicability of Acts 15 and the Noachian covenant. The Watchtower had received complaints from readers in reference to a previous article called the “The Stranger’s Right Maintained” (which I haven’t found yet). Page 199 says: “In commenting thereon, some Watchtower readers have said that such prohibition against eating and drinking blood applied only the the Jews under the Mosaic law covenant but not to Christians who are under the new… Read more »
Is there nothing we have been taught as witnesses that is actually true?? Very well written but has left me shattered. I was refusing blood transfusions long before I became a witness for medical reasons alone … More confusion … Thank you for your well written article!!
Karen, Thank you dear sister for your kind words. Your comment touches my heart. I share your view that it is prudent to avoid a blood transfusion for medical reasons. I would accept one only as a last resort intervention to preserve my life. I view transfusion intervention similar to tethering a life raft on a sailboat when traveling across on the ocean. I have no intention of using the life raft, ever. But prudence dictates that I tether it and take it along, just in case. If in a severe storm the vessel took on water and began to… Read more »
Thank you for your kind and clear response. You write very well and use illustrations as Jesus would have done in assisting others to understand, I thank you again and intend to keep reading. For now I cling to basic (milk food as previous accusations from the WT), the resurrection hope, the fact that there is a God whatever his name is (I wish I new). The fact that we will inherit a clean and honest new earth, (we will wont we) ?
I have been exactly where you are. My entire life, I was so certain I was standing on solid ground. I was happy, as they say, ignorance is bliss. When the GB allowed hemoglobin, I started researching and my awakening. The ground began moving, and I realized I was standing on a mudslide. Like you, I didn’t know what to believe anymore.
I’m so thankful for this site. We are not alone my sister.
Our Father is looking after us.
very good article! We look forward to studying them all as a family
Thank you wish4truth2. I pray that many within the JW community do likewise. Most active JW’s view compliance with the doctrine as simply the Christian thing to do. Few have done any research outside of WT publications. Only if one researches “outside the box” can he see the big picture. After fractions were allowed, I recall a conversation with a very close elder friend and his wife regarding blood. She said that she wished things had never changed. She lamented that before fractions became a ‘conscience” matter, it was so easy to simply say no to anything made from blood.… Read more »
We seemed to have stopped doing our own research after baptism …. We then accepted everything coming from the GB as fact. As the article written by ‘Sopater’ comments …. The issue of blood cannot be changed in the form of a new light… Now we can make our own choices once we have researched the many fractions of blood… Of course it would have been easier just to kick back and wait to be told what we do or don’t believe this year, this month …..
Karen, It has become so obvious to those of us enlightened (including medical professionals) that JW’s accept blood. The confusion is purely semantics. While the GB (and staff attorneys) insist that the official No Blood doctrine has not changed since 1945, namely: I REFUSE WHOLE BLOOD, AND ANY OF BLOOD’S FOUR MAJOR COMPONENTS The reality is, when the GB allowed ALL minor fractions and even HEMOGLOBIN was approved, JW’s are now approved to accept about 99% of whole blood. To be most accurate and aboveboard, the No Blood Card should now read: I REFUSE WHOLE BLOOD, AND ANY OF BLOOD’S… Read more »
Sopater, Watchtower’s current position does not limit which or how many “fractions” JWs can accept from blood. In the case of red cells, current Watchtower doctrine would allow JWs to accept any and all “fractions” thereof, which would include the protein membrane so long as it is first “fractioned” from the red cell. This is similar to the fresh frozen plasma component. Once it’s fractioned into cryoprecipitate and cryosupernatant both these constituents can be accepted by JWs even though these two fractions are 100% of the original fresh frozen plasma. Hence current Watchtower doctrine allows JWs to accept transfusion of… Read more »
You have adjusted my thinking again. 🙂 So I’m off 1% huh?
So based upon your findings, I now feel comfortable with the statement that Jehovah’s Witnesses can accept 100% of whole blood, so long as it’s sufficiently dissected beforehand.
Thank you Marvin, our collective research on this subject is going to be like an uppercut followed by the left hook.
LOL. I suppose the difference between 99% and 100% is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1%. Seriously, the notion that Watchtower claims it’s position on blood has JWs abstaining from blood is only made more hollow once the reader realizes that same position lets JWs literally accept 100% of the volume of a donated unit of whole blood if only it’s sufficiently dissected first. So 100% becomes an ominous figure in the discussion. On another note, this idea of “fractionation” in relation to nutrition only becomes more absurd given the fact that the first step in our digestive tract is… Read more »
It started out ridiculous, then went down hill from there.
The GB’s of each generation have performed all kinds of convoluted somersaults while sliding down the slippery slope of attempting to defend it
How do you defend the indefensible?
Sopater, I understand your rhetorical question. It’s frustrating to realize a teaching you once held as valid is ridiculous. We’ve all felt that pain over one belief/teaching or another. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is learning those who you thought cared about truth turn out to have little if any regard at all for it. That level of betrayal is hard to reconcile. Judas comes to mind. Changing gears just a bit, I’ve noticed Watchtower waffle around between a nourishment premise and a sanctity premise in relation to blood. You might want to give the latter subject some treatment in future… Read more »
Thank you again Sopater, I never thought I would say or in fact do this…. As a person with a medical background, with tears in my eyes have just thrown away my blood card….. What next with this organisation? Devastating all the years I pushed and drove my children to despair to be the very best we could be in Jehovah’s eyes? no in the elders eyes …. Yes again you are correct, as a sole parent every man and his male dog in our congregation believed they could tell me and mine what to do … They were good… Read more »
We feel your pain. We have been brought together to support each other.
Warm Christian love,
RE Biola electronic vibrations. Up to the end of WW11 there was a medical practice called “Diathermy” which heated tissue with very strong electromagnetic fields. Don’t know how much harm was caused,but it became illegal in N.Y.S.
That’s a very interesting piece of information Charles, thanks for sharing.
May I say I’m not surprised.
[…] Witnesses. This would make Jesus responsible for all the medical silliness of Woodworth’s editorship (1919-1945), Rutherford’s 1925 prediction of the end of the world, Franz’s 1975 fiasco, the […]
The Governing Body is not yet ready to crucify themselves over the blood doctrine. They believe: “the Romans (xjws) will come and take away both our place and our nation,” and rightly so.
The raw truth is that they have not only betrayed those who gave their lives and their children’s lives for this man made doctrine; they have also betrayed and sullied God and His Son while doing so.
So true Joshua.
Time is working against them, more are waking to the elephant in the room.
Well done. Another rather controversial topic, in particular among JW’s. Not because of what the bible really say but because of how the WT organization has interpreted it over the years and imposed their views and obligations on its members. The verses (Acts 15:20,29) also talk about sexual immorality. I believe that sexual activities with minor and little children is to be considered a sexual immoral thing. However, those who do this are treated differently that those who accept blood. Also, those who commit adultery do not feel that this is equal to accepting blood. In other words, the results… Read more »
Hello Menrov, You make very excellent points. The GB (guided by branch attorneys no doubt) have gone as far as they can possibly go to minimize future harm to members, without officially rescinding the doctrine. Allowing hemoglobin in 2004 was tactical in that HBOC”s (Hemoglobin Based Oxygen Carriers) were doing quite well in FDA trials at that time. The GB needed hemoglobin approved before the HBOC’s became mainstream, so no one would connect the dots, that hemoglobin was allowed to allow JW’s to accept the HBOC. By sliding hemoglobin in the mix, they could say hey, hemoglobin has been a… Read more »
Interesting article.Looking forward to the next instalment.
It seems that jews today have no problem with blood transfusion even though they are very strict on abstinence on blood.A quote from an online source called Chabad.org says “According to Jewish belief, saving a life is one of the most important mitzvot (commandments), overriding nearly all of the others. (The exceptions are murder, certain sexual offenses, and idol-worship—we cannot transgress these even to save a life.) Therefore, if a blood transfusion is deemed medically necessary, then it is not only permissible but obligatory.”
Regarding the reality of whether or not Christians should “eat” blood, I’ve lately liked using Matthew 15:11 “Not what enters into [his] mouth defiles a man; but it is what proceeds out of [his] mouth that defiles a man.”
So does blood defile us if we ingest it? I interpret Jesus statement above as meaning we’re not defiled. Blood has always been symbolic in nature and we JW’s have taken it too literally.
I actually just finished reading the section on blood in ‘In Search Of Christian Freedom’ and look forward to your series of articles.
Excellent point CX516 and welcome, Some of the meat sold by the Priest (in the idol temple) to local butchers was from animals that had been strangled in sacrifice. Also, it is reasonable to conclude that some meat served at the table of an unbeliever came from an animal strangled sacrifice. About this bloody meat, Paul said don’t ask of its origin. (1 Cor 10:25,27). He was aware that some of the meat was “bloody” meat. So to answer your question I ask, Did Paul take issue with a Christian eating congealed blood that remained in the meat of an… Read more »
Didn’t Jesus mention David and his men ate the showbread to save their lives even though it was forbidden? I find it hard to imagine Jesus leaning over someone dying on the hospital bed and saying “Don’t you take that blood or you are trampling on my sacrifice”. But that’s just my thoughts. So here we go. My doctor says I can’t eat cake. So I make sure that I just eat the flour, sugar, eggs, and milk individually. So I can truthfully say when I see him next “I haven’t eaten cake since I last saw you”. And what… Read more »
The basis of not eating blood as spoken of in the Bible is the fact that a life had been taken. The blood represented that life that had been taken away. In blood transfusions, however, usually the donor’s life is not sacrificed in order to give blood, thus the Biblical principle does not apply. I noticed, however, the statement concerning “Bible students” that they were later called “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. This is misleading since the majority of the “Bible Students” rejected Rutherford’s “Jehovah’s visible organization” dogma and thus were never called “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. Today the Bible Students still preach the good… Read more »
ResLight, Thank you for your comment and welcome. It has been my understanding that during the Rutherford takeover (1917-1918) about 75% of Bible Students opposed his actions and were supportive of the 4 directors that had been illegally removed. Thus, from 1917 two factions existed within the Bible Students, those holding to Russell’s will (Last Will and Testament) and teachings, and the smaller group that supported Rutherford. Over the next decade, those sympathetic to Rutherford grew to far outnumber those who remained devoted to Russell. In the late 1920’s Rutherford denounced the God’s great stone witness (as well as certain… Read more »
From the Spring of 1927 to the Spring of 1928 the Watchtower organization suffered more than an 80% decline in those associating with it. It was the largest schism in the history of the organization known as Watchtower.
Can you provide the reference for this?
Was this Russell’s BS separating from Rutherford’s BS?
You’ll find supporting reference information in a blog article of mine titled “Watchtower — emergence of the business end” at: http://marvinshilmer.blogspot.com/2011/08/watchtower-emergence-of-business-end.html
Check reference item 1.
Hi Marvin, I downloaded the Messenger but cannot find the words on the picture on your site. Can you help?
Hello, Menrov, the information at issue is not found in the Messenger but in the material referenced at footnote 1 in my blog article.
Ok, found it. disegard my previous message. Thanks
I thought for a split second you meant something else 😉
That too. That too!
Yes. In the thirties many left and formed the Dawn Bible Students association. I’m a Bible Student and we are alive and well.
Yes I’m a Bible Student. They all left.
Hi Chris and welcome. I have a few questions for you, none are doctrinal related. 1. I wonder if what your referring to relates to Bible Students leaving when the name JW was adopted in 1931? Marvin has provided a reference that shows that in 1928 there was a huge decrease in memorial attendance. If memory serves, wasn’t this about the time Rutheford declared what had been God’s Great Stone Witness as the Devil’s Stone Witness? Could that (and other negative statements from Rutherford leading up to the memorial) have contributed to the mass exodus? 2. The many that left… Read more »
The Watchtower organization is literally BLOOD guilty of Non Blood to their followers to strictly follow.As we know they twist understanding of the scriptures and when court cases appear then they blame their members and never apologize of wrong doings.
How hypocritical,delusional and self-righteous.
“A reversal would be an admission by leadership that the doctrine was never biblical. It would open the flood gates and could lead to financial ruin.”
I’ve heard this argued many times on different sites. I’d like to genuinely ask how do we know this is true? Is there a lawyer that has commented on this or is there a similar case that set a precedent for asserting such reasoning.
NMT, Good question. In Part 2 I quote Kerry Louderbach Wood (attorney) in her essay, “Jehovah’s Witnesses, Blood Transfusions, and the Tort of Misrepresentation.” (2005) You can find it online for free. Her position is basically that tort liability exists due to misrepresentation in WT publications produced by the organization. In that the GB’s official position is that “nothing” has changed since 1945, a case would have to be developed proving this is false. At face value, the statement (that JW’s don’t accept whole blood or any of its 4 major components) remains true. However, in 2004 hemoglobin was allowed,… Read more »
I agree Watchtower has potential liability for misrepresenting information. But I’m not too sure there is much potential for liability for changing its blood doctrine. The misrepresentation is whatever it is whether Watchtower changes its doctrine or not. Regarding hemoglobin, it is paradoxical for Watchtower to say it’s definitely wrong to accept transfusion of the product rendered from known as red cells yet says it’s not definitely wrong to accept transfusion of the product rendered from blood known as hemoglobin. Yet this product of hemoglobin is not the largest single component rendered from blood that Watchtower lets JWs accept transfusion… Read more »
The bible does say to abstain from blood . I think where the hierarchy have made a massive mistake though they have not left it up to the individual to decide what that means and worse have tried to enforce it as a rule violating the personal right of many people . For goodness sake such a serious issue has to be left to the individual to decide . While the witnesses may say that it is and ultimately it may be . Its the sort of decision that is made with the elders holding a figurative shotgun to your… Read more »
Yes Father Jack, the bible does say to “abstain” from blood. Along with blood were mentioned three other seemingly unconnected prohibitions: things (meat) sacrificed to idols, things (meat from an animal) strangled, and fornication. I will be commenting at length on the very clear connection these 4 items shared in Part 5 (Acts 15:20,29). The greek word translated “abstain” comes from two words apo (which means against, away from) and echo (which means to hold or possess, to own), Together the two words are apecho (which means to hold back, keep away from, be distant from). The decree then was… Read more »
Thanks mate i didnt know that about the greek words .looking forward to part 2 of this series then . FJ
It will be Part 5 my brother.
Part 5 deals with acts 15 im looking forward to that as well . Haha keep smiling bro
Looking forward too the whole serie thank you brother Sopater?
How is the prohibition on things strangled “unrelated” to the prohibition on blood? The fact the blood has not been poured out is exactly the reason why it is in the list of 4, which means that the issue of blood is on this list twice, alongside fornication and things tainted by idolatry.
Joel, Thanks for the question, and yes, all 4 “things” are closely related. I don’t view the prohibition related specifically to the blood of an animal not being poured out. If we are to consider the Apostolic Decree as strictly about not eating blood, how is it Paul could be so cavalier when directing the Corinthians not to ask about the origin of meat sold in the market or served on the table of an unbeliever. Specifically, if that meat was idol meat? (1Cor 10:25,27) Of course, some idol meat came from an animal strangled. So eating idol meat, including… Read more »
Three things come to mind, when reading this. Point 1) There were brothers/sisters in the twin towers on 9/11, who knew they were facing imminent death, and perhaps made a choice to leap from the window and fall to their deaths, as opposed to burning to death. Suicide is ‘self’ murder. Technically, the choice would be tantamount to disfellowshipping offense, if we are SPLITTING HAIRS. How would Jehovah/Jesus feels about that choice? Point 2) A woman suffering from a flow of blood BROKE the law, and touched Jesus garment to be healed. We all know the story. What did he… Read more »
In the 1898 novel, War Of The Worlds, H.G. Wells speculated that an advanced race might evolve past the need of eating to obtain nourishment and would instead, inject, “…the fresh living blood of other creatures” into their veins.
Wells was not an uneducated man either. The mistaken belief that blood is the food upon which our bodies are internally sustained persisted as a layman’s misconception at least into the early 20th century and the architects of the blood doctrine all appear to have been products of this era.
Welcome Tom, and thanks for that insight!
Thank you so much for posting this Tom!
The idea that transfusion of blood offers nutritional support to a body has been demonstrably refuted over and over again. When medical science advanced to allow more therapeutic surgical interventions it became obvious that patients who survived advanced interventions rendering them unconscious for days (or otherwise unable to take nutrition orally) were nevertheless doomed unless a means of offering parenteral nutrition was found. Blood was one of the many substances used experimentally to serve this purpose, and it failed for multiple reasons. Ironically the constituents of blood that are viable for service in parenteral nutrition are the plasma components, yet… Read more »
Thank you for your contribution Marvin. I have gained much wisdom over the years from your blogs and the many comments you have shared in various forums on this hotly debated topic. I hope “Anerin” is reading this and has the courage to post, wouldn’t that be interesting?
We look forward to your valuable research. .
Thank you brother,
HI Brother Shilmer… what is the url to your blog ? I am always looking for fresh perspectives re: JW Doctrine …
I would like to share with you an interesting and tragic story related to blood transfusions. As recently as November 2015, Georgiana, a JW woman aged 20, was involved in a train accident. She was a beginner driver and, when wishing to cross the railroad, her engine stopped and the car remained still on the rail. Her father got off the car and started to push the car. Within seconds, the trained appeared out of nowhere and hit the car (the woman was in the car). The collision was disastrous, leaving the girl with multiple and severe spinal, thoracic and… Read more »
Vassy, Thank you for sharing such a moving story, though it has such tragic ending. Her story is not unique. Countless others have faced the very same outcome. Their stories need to be publicized and shared with the world. In the series of articles I’ve prepared, it is my prayer that the message will reach many active JW’s as well as the medical profession and legal authorities..Too many families have suffered, too many parents have lost children, children have lost their mothers, husbands have lost their wives, wives have lost their husbands.How many more lives must be sacrificed over a… Read more »
“Blood is an organ of the body, and blood transfusion is nothing less than an organ transplant.” by Dr. Ciril Godec, chairman of urology at Long Island College Hospital, in Brooklyn, New York. Quoted on page 31 of the August 22, 1999 Awake magazine.
Watchtower publications have acknowledged that blood is an organ (Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Question of Blood page 41) performing a specific function in the body so if now having an organ transplant is a matter of personal choice why is the transplantation of the organ of whole blood forbidden.
Thank you Miken, looked for the awake article and printed that important information ?
What if you take it and say sorry later? At least you may be alive for the judicial meeting
Anon, Actually there was a provision made for this in the 2010 elders manual. If it becomes known that someone willfully accepted blood, two elders (not a judicial committee) will meet with them to determine if they are repentant (sorry). If the brother/sister asks for forgiveness, and the matter is not public knowledge in the congregation, the matter is handled privately as if a person smoked a cigarette. If it is known in the congregation, an announcement is made: “The elders have handled a matter having to do with [name of person]. You will be glad to know that spiritual… Read more »
Thats good advice again sopater . How crazy is it though when a sick person has to go to those lengths to protect thier own confidential matters . Im not being funny but WHAT HAS IT GOT TO DO WITH THE ELDERS ANYWAY .or anyone else for that matter , why cant they just but out and mind thier own buisness . Thats a major problem with this religion everybody interferes in everyone elses life .It used to wind me up something awful , in the end i couldnt do anything without someone whinging and complaining just drove me mad… Read more »
Kev, The GB created the HLC as sort of a benevolent group to support JW patients (and their families) when under duress. They are actually secret service (SS) agents of the GB. Their first duty it to enforce that when under duress, a JW does not compromise and accept blood. The GB had to put this force in place. It is far too expedient that a JW might (while under duress) break down and accept blood and keep it private. If not for the SS, a JW that accepted blood could confide with another facing a critical situation. It would… Read more »
Yeah i think thats just about right . I know a brother that used to go around “strengthening ” the witness patients in hospital . It caused massive problems with the the non witness relatives , I also know a nurse who used to look after cancer patients and she told me of some very disturbing events regarding the witnesses and the meddling and pressure applied by them in hospital . Needless to say she is disgusted . When i used to do the door to door ministry i used to have a very kind and respectful manner with people… Read more »
It’s false that, including the water volume of red cells, that hemoglobin amounts to 98% of blood. Before using information like this in your articles you should take a closer look at that numbers.
If you are going to say that a statement is false, you have to provide the basis for the statement. We don’t make baseless statements on BP.
Thank you for understanding.
I should have taken more care before commenting, my oversight.
I would hope that our brother could be more tactful in the future.
“False” could be replaced with:
Sopater, redo your math I think it’s incorrect.
Sopater, that was my intent. Please accept my apology for coming across as less than tactful.
Apology accepted Marvin, thank you. I admit my work is in process when it comes to the precise percentages of the “dry weight” of blood constituents (water removed). I don’t find then listed anywhere. I would love to find a chart that defines: Water = XX% Red Cells = XX% White Cells = X% Platelets = X% Everything else = X% In “dry” weight I am attempting to convey it in such a way that makes it easy to understand. My point being, water is the primary component of blood, and hemoglobin is next largest constituent considering “dry weight”. Together… Read more »
Water is by far the most prevalent constituent of blood, which is true of most tissues of out body. I can probably help you with some educational reference material on this subject. As time allows I’ll see what I can find and look for a way to get it to you. One thing to keep in mind is that levels of various constituents of our blood are fluid, meaning these levels are in a constant state of change based on diet, time of day, activity, physical condition, not to mention typical variations between male and female. So the best we… Read more »
Marvin, Thank you brother. I really appreciate all your research. Please continue to share it with us. I used Wikipedia as my resource: ‘In mammals, the protein makes up about 96% of the red blood cells’ dry content (by weight), and around 35% of the total content (including water).” I’m especially interested in learning about the red cell (96% hemoglobin less water) due to it’s vital role in blood, given the fact that the 2006 November Kingdom Ministry listed hemoglobin as a blood “fraction” along with other “minor” fractions. While hemoglobin was described as about 33% of the red cell… Read more »
Sopater, The reasons you give and more is why Watchtower’s blood doctrine is wrong top-to-bottom, both inside and out. The distinction Watchtower makes of four primary components is wholly man made. Though blood can be separated into these components the process to achieve this is completely man made, not to mention that these component distinctions represent only one of several perspectives about what blood is composed of. There is no biblical text that addresses these components as though indicative of “blood” or “not blood” and there is no circumstance in the natural world where these four components separate from whole… Read more »
Marvin, I have a arrived at a calculation for the water/hemoglobin percentage in whole blood. Check my numbers and see if you concur: % Water in Whole Blood Water in Plasma is 92% of 55% (55 x.92) = 50.6% Water in RBC’s is 65% of 45% (45 x.65) = 29.2% Total 79.8% (water) The “solids” in whole blood must therefore be 20.2% % Solids in Whole Blood Solids in Plasma are 8% of 55% (55 x .08) = 4.4% Solids in RBC’s are 35% of 45% (45 x.35) = 15.8% WBC’s/Platelets (see below) Total 20.2% (solids) To be most precise… Read more »
Sopater, I don’t see any major problems with the numbers as you present them here. Things are spelled out sufficiently so readers should not be confused about what the numbers represent. That said, I’d still advise to speak in terms of ranges rather than hard numbers (percentages). Something else that’s important is what we speak of as essential or vital, and how so. Hemoglobin for instance is vital of course, but it’s how the hemoglobin is composed within red cells and how red cells are suspended that allows hemoglobin to carry out its work of oxygenation. Outside this suspended composition… Read more »
Marvin, I agree with speaking in ranges, I realize such precision doesn’t occur in real world settings. The pont of this exercise is to present a very simple illustration of how major the allowance of hemoglobin was. It was presented to the rank and file as a “minor” fraction. I also understand that “free” hemoglobin is a problem, which occurs the longer blood is stored (older shelf life). I think this is part of the HBOC’s failure, they were produced from free hemoglobin. Yes heme (iron) is toxic. Thanks for all your help brother. By the way, I found the… Read more »
Sopater I enjoy and appreciate your work on this subject. There is a Watchtower staffer named Tomonori Ariga who has been published in academic literature regarding the religion’s position on blood. In 1998 he pointed specifically to the hemoglobin as a subset fraction from red cells and responded based on what you point out. He said JWs would not accept it for transfusion of hemoglobin because it is “a major part of red cells”. He said this in the context of discussing HBOCs. At the same time Ariga pointed out that products rendered from blood such as clotting factors were… Read more »
It is tantamount to a man saying, “I abstain from alcohol. I never drink Scotch or other distilled products. However, I do drink a lot of beer.”
Hi Meleti, I’d say it’s more like a son whose father has told him to abstain from drinking whiskey and when his father’s whiskey bottle is found empty the son responds saying “I didn’t drink your whiskey, I separated the ethanol and only drank that.”
Thank you Marvin for your kind words. I highly value your input. Of all JW teachings, I’m most troubled by the blood doctrine, because everyday so many are at risk and countless humans have suffered an untimely death over 70 years of this teaching of man. I pray this research (and the next 4 articles) will be informative to active JW’s and medical professionals and even legal professionals. Next in line is the two-witness rule applied to reporting a crime. Following that is “extreme” shunning, specifically involving families, which may include grandchildren. These are teachings that cause irreparable harm to… Read more »
Sopater, Medical science has developed quite a bit and the very basic information you’re looking for can be a little hard to find in laymen terms. That said, the composition of blood is something that’s been studied exhaustively from multiple perspectives since the mid to late 19th Century. Some of the best basic presentations of blood’s composition can be found in some of these earlier works when medical scientists tended to use language that was more understandable to the masses. For what you’re looking for I recommend a book published in 1921 with the title “A Text Book of Physiology… Read more »
Meleti, It is better to say a false statement is false if that is the case when it has been asserted as true. It was my intent to do no more than encourage someone to check their math.
I just went back through my calculation, and stand corrected.
I only recently shared this and only in a couple comments, no articles have been written.
I had 92% on my brain, water is 92% of plasma, not 92% of blood.
However, hemoglobin is 96% of the red cell.
And this is the main point I’m attempting to make. Hemoglobin as the oxygen carrier, is the “life” that’s in the blood.
I’m glad you’re here brother.
Hemoglobin is approximately 96% of a red cell’s dry weight, which does not account for water content of a red cell at all. If you account for the water content of a red cell the hemoglobin is nowhere near 96% of the red cell tissue. I’m not trying to nitpick anyone or anything. It’s just that an ordinary person is not trained to think of tissue in terms of dry weight. Hence a need to take great care to communicate information that is accurately understood.