Jehovah's Witnesses and Blood - Part 3

Blood As Blood or Blood As Food?

The majority in the JW community surmise that the No Blood doctrine is a biblical teaching, yet few comprehend what holding this position requires. To hold that the doctrine is biblical requires us to accept the premise that a transfusion is a form of food and nutrition as scientific fact. We must believe that God views an intravenous injection of plasma and packed RBC's into our bloodstream the same as if we gulped down whole blood from a glass. Do you honestly believe this? If not, should you not rethink your position regarding the doctrine that relies on such an assumption?

In the previous two articles, evidence was presented confirming that blood acts as blood when injected into our bloodstream. It functions as Jehovah so designed it to. However, blood does not function as blood when ingested. Raw uncooked blood is toxic and could even be fatal, if consumed in large quantity. Whether slaughterhouse obtained or home collected, contamination with infectious coliform bacteria is far too easy, and exposure to parasites and other circulating microbes are real threats. 
It is crucial that we use our God given thinking ability and wisdom in this matter (Pr 3:13). Our survival (or that of a loved one) may someday hang in the balance. To reiterate, the kingpin of the doctrine (which has remained constant since the doctrine was enacted in 1945) is found in the following statement in the 1958 Watchtower:

"Each time the prohibition of blood is mentioned in the Scriptures it is in connection with taking it as food, and so it is as a nutrient that we are concerned with its being forbidden." (Watchtower 1958 p. 575)

From this we discern that from 1945 to the present, leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses has been concerned with blood being a nutrient used as food. Though published some 58 years ago, this position remains the official position of Jehovah's Witnesses. We can make this statement because the words above have never been renounced in print. Further in this article, facts and reasoning are presented that indicate the GB maintain a very different position unofficially. Down to this day, members have hung their hats on the notion that a transfusion is a form of food and nutrition for the body, because the GB has not said otherwise. These men are viewed to be at all times directed by God's holy spirit, so their judgment in this very serious matter must represent God's view. Those holding such conviction are reluctant to research beyond the pages of Watchtower publications. To the vast majority, learning about a substance which God has forbidden would be somewhat a waste of time. In my own case, prior to 2005 I knew very little about blood and viewed it as a dirty subject. 

An argument making the claim that blood used as food contains a small measure of nutrition would be largely without merit. Anyone who would drink raw blood for its nutritional value would be taking great risk for virtually no benefit. Studies have shown that isolated red blood cells contain no nutritional value. Red blood cells and water constitute roughly 95% of whole blood volume. Hemoglobin (96% of the red cell dry weight) transports oxygen throughout the body. We could say definitively that the person that adheres to the No Blood doctrine views red blood cells as the most forbidden component in blood. Ironically, these blood cells contain no nutrition. So, if it was as a nutrient that leadership was concerned, the red blood cell should never have been prohibited.

How does the medical community view blood? Do they view raw blood as food? Do they use blood as a therapy to treat malnutrition? Or do they view blood as blood, with all its sustaining characteristics essential to maintaining life in cellular tissues? Modern medical science does not view blood as a nutrient, so why should we? To view it as food and a nutrient, we are endorsing a discredited centuries-old notion.
Consider someone from the Jewish community. As sensitive as they are regarding strict kosher dietary laws (which involve total abstinence from eating blood), 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—these cannot be transgressed even to save a life.) Therefore, if a blood transfusion is deemed medically necessary, to the Jew it is not only permissible but obligatory.

Leadership Did Know Better

In her book Flesh and Blood: Organ Transplantation and Blood Transfusion In Twentieth-Century America (see Part 1 of this series) Dr. Lederer states that by 1945, contemporary modern medicine had long abandoned the notion that a transfusion was a form of nutrition. She stated that the current medical thinking (in 1945) did not appear to "trouble" the Jehovah's Witnesses. This of course would refer to the leadership responsible for the doctrine. So, leadership was not troubled with rejecting modern medical science in favor of supporting a centuries-old notion? How could they have been so irresponsible and negligent?

There are two factors influencing their decision. First, leadership was paranoid over the patriotism surrounding the blood drive of the American Red Cross. In leadership's view, donating blood would be an act of support for the war effort. If members were told they must refuse to donate their blood, how is it they could be allowed to accept donated blood? Secondly, we must remember that leadership imagined Armageddon was imminent, perhaps only a year or two in the future. Factoring these two elements into the equation, we can see how leadership could be so shortsighted and indifferent to the long range consequences. We could say that not in their worst nightmare might they have imagined that their teaching would have impacted millions of human beings. Armageddon would surely not delay. Yet here we are, seven decades later.

From the 1950's to the end of the century, advancements in transfusion therapy and organ transplantation were highly publicized. To claim ignorance of these facts would have required that one had joined the Andaman tribe off the coast of Africa. We can be assured leadership kept themselves abreast of each and every advancement in medical science. Why can we say this? The No Blood doctrine compelled that leadership make a determination on each and every new therapy. Would they allow members to accept the new advancement, or not?

Just as we asked regarding their predecessors: How could leadership have continued to endorse an absolute myth? The fervor of patriotism (and Red Cross blood drive) surrounding WW2 was long past. Of course, Armageddon has remained imminent, but why not dictate that accepting blood is a conscience matter? Why perform such convoluted somersaults attempting to defend the premise? To name just two, recall the view that an organ transplant was akin to cannibalism? Also the view that a heart transplant could cause the recipient to take on personality traits of the donor?

The only logical conclusion is that they were in fear of the consequences; of the impact it would have on the organization if they took responsibility for such a tragic error in judgment. Fearing the consequences to the organization (and their personal situation) they chose not to upset the apple cart and instead, maintain the status quo. Loyalty to organizational interests took precedence over the interests of members.  Generations of leadership prayed fervently for Armageddon to arrive, or for the discovery of a viable blood substitute (either of which would resolve the issue), while they effectively kicked the No Blood can down the street for their successors to deal with. As organization membership has grown, the consequences have grown exponentially. For decades, members (including parents of infants and children) have taken their stand, assured that the No Blood doctrine is biblical. Refusing to accept a potentially life-saving intervention resulted in the untimely deaths of an unknown number. Only Jehovah knows how many souls have been lost prematurely and unnecessarily. [1]

A Sweeping Shift In Policy

The position as expressed in the 1958 Watchtower remained unchanged for decades. In fact, it remains the official position to this day. However, in the year 2000 the JW community (and medical professionals) witnessed dramatic reform in the No Blood policy. For decades, leadership had ruled that since blood fractions (serums) were produced from blood, they were prohibited. The year 2000 brought an about-face in this position. The GB ruled that blood fractions (though produced only from blood) were not...... "blood." In 2004, hemoglobin was added to the list of "minor" blood fractions, so that from that year to the present, all blood ingredients have been acceptable to members.

Discerning JW's (including this writer) saw this "new light" as a prodigious reversal of policy, given the fact that blood fractions constitute 100% of whole blood after fractionation and dissection. I asked myself: Do not the fractions themselves contain the very "nutrients" the 1958 Watchtower described as being the concern? I found myself scratching my head. To illustrate: It was as if the GB had for decades prohibited members from eating apple pie and all its ingredients, out of concern over nutritional value. Now they say the ingredients of apple pie are not apple pie. Wait, do not the ingredients of apple pie contain ALL the nutrition found in apple pie?

This is the new unofficial position of the current GB. They now acknowledge that a member can accept 100% of the ingredients of blood (including all nutritional value) transfused through intravenous injection, and they would not be breaking God's law at Acts 15:29. So then we ask: What was prohibited in the Apostolic Decree? Drinking whole animal blood mixed with wine in an idol temple? By simply connecting the dots, one can see the position held in the 1958 Watchtower was reversed in 2004. Yet officially, what was stated in the 1958 Watchtower remains current; and members are making life-and-death decisions based upon this. How does Jehovah view the GB holding an unofficial position that contradicts the official position? Can the GB have it both ways? So far the answer is yes. But it is a race against time. Armageddon or a viable blood substitute needs to arrive before the rank and file awaken to what has happened.   

In support of the new unofficial position, the August 6, 2006 edition of Awake! magazine portrayed blood (and all its ingredients) as precious and an incredibly wonderful and unique "organ." The timing of this article suggests the GB had an agenda. Only eight months previously, the The Tort of Misrepresentation essay was published in Baylor University's prestigious Journal of Church and State (December 13, 2005). In response, the GB went the extra mile in explaining the complexity of blood and portraying it in a very positive light, including detailed information about HBOC's (blood substitutes in FDA trials). The articles served to achieve two objectives: First, to defend that leadership had been diligent in educating members (not misrepresenting blood as the essay asserted). The second objective was to clear the path for the HBOC blood substitute (which at that time was assumed soon to be approved by the FDA) to be accepted in the JW community. Unfortunately, the HBOC's failed and were pulled from FDA trials in 2009. The following are excerpts from the August 6 articles:

"Because of its amazing complexity, blood is often likened to an organ of the body. 'Blood is one of the many organs—incredibly wonderful and unique,' Dr. Bruce Lenes told Awake! Unique indeed! One textbook describes blood as 'the only organ in the body that’s a fluid.'”

Some manufacturers now process hemoglobin, releasing it from human or bovine red blood cells. The extracted hemoglobin is then filtered to remove impurities, chemically modified and purified, mixed with a solution, and packaged. The end product—not yet approved for use in most lands is called a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier, or HBOC. Since the heme is responsible for the rich red color of blood, a unit of HBOC looks just like a unit of red blood cells, the primary component from which it is taken. Unlike red blood cells, which must be refrigerated and discarded after a few weeks, the HBOC can be stored at room temperature and used months later. And since the cell membrane with its unique antigens is gone, severe reactions due to mismatched blood types pose no threat.

"Without question, blood performs functions that are essential to life. That is why the medical community has made a practice of transfusing blood into patients who have lost blood. Many doctors would say that this medical use is what makes blood so precious. However, things have been changing in the medical field. In a sense, a quiet revolution has been underway. Many doctors and surgeons are not so quick to transfuse blood as they once were. Why?"

This is an intriguing statement and question we will next address.

Why Doctors And Surgeons Can Treat Without Transfusing Blood

As mentioned previously, the JW community at large feels that adherence to the doctrine has resulted in God's divine blessing. They point to the many advancements in bloodless surgery, perhaps noting that many lives have been spared. This would seemingly support the concept that abstaining from blood brings God's blessing, allowing many doctors and surgeons to treat without transfusing blood. It is a fact that many are choosing to refrain from transfusion therapy. But the underlying question is, what gave them this option?

The No Blood Doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses can be credited for playing a pivotal role in the advancement of blood conservation techniques. JW patients have unwittingly participated in what could be considered clinical trials. Doctors and surgeons have been afforded the opportunity to practice revolutionary techniques and procedures that involve high risk. What was effectively trial and error surgery has resulted in major medical breakthroughs. So, we can say that Jehovah's Witness patients have contributed to major advancements in bloodless surgery. But what was the price paid in exchange for such medical breakthroughs? Does the end justify the means? Do the lives of those that were lost (over decades) while complying with the No Blood doctrine offset the many that now benefit from bloodless surgery?

I am in no way suggesting that the medical profession has acted unethically or unscrupulously. They should be recognized for having done all that they possibly can to preserve life. Essentially, they were handed a lemon, so they made lemonade. Either they operate on JW patients without blood, or allow the patient to deteriorate and suffer an untimely death. This has inadvertently proved to be the silver lining of the No Blood doctrine. Doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, hospitals, and the medical community at large have had the opportunity to practice and perfect bloodless surgery and blood conservation without fear of malpractice in the event of major complications (even death). In fact, the No Blood directive works as a release that protects all involved from liability should the patient suffer harm during the treatment or procedure. Think of how over many decades, the JW community has provided a never-ending stream of participants willing to volunteer to be "practiced on" all over the world. My, but what a Godsend for the medical community!

Still, what about the victims?

Bloodless Surgery - A Clinical Research Trial?

A clinical trial is defined as:

"Any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes."

The FDA typically regulates clinical trials, but in the case of bloodless surgery, a clinical trial would be highly unlikely due to the ethical challenge it presents. If preserving life underlies any medical treatment, the patient involved in bloodless surgery would receive an intervention in the event of a complication during surgery. This being said, data from case studies would be skewed. For case study history to be accurate, there could be no end-of-life intervention; no parachute. The patient (and medical team) would have to commit to non-intervention and allow one of the following to occur:

  • The patient survives the procedure or therapy and stabilizes.

  • The patient does not survive.

This writer cannot imagine the FDA participating in clinical trials that do not allow end-of-life intervention to save the patient. The phrase, "first do no harm", is the creed of doctors and surgeons as well as officials of the FDA. Life must be preserved first, if intervention has a chance of preserving it. In my opinion, if not for JW patients acting as clinical trial volunteers (with no compensation I might add), advancements in bloodless surgery would likely be 20 years behind where they are today.

Does The End Justify The Means?

Do the lives of the many who have benefited from bloodless surgery in recent years, offset the lives of those whose chance of survival was dramatically reduced due to refusing transfusion intervention since 1945? Is it trade off; a wash? We have the utmost compassion for families who have lost a family member who refused blood. We also acknowledge the emotional and ethical challenges faced by their medical team as they stood by, helpless to intervene with a therapy that could have preserved life. Some may feel comforted knowing that Jehovah can rectify any injustice through the resurrection. Still, does the end justify the means?

If the means reflects honesty and is scriptural, then yes, we could say that the end also reflects honesty and is scriptural. But this expression is generally used as an excuse someone gives to achieve their goals by any means necessary, no matter how immoral, illegal, or unpleasant the means may be. The "end justifying the means" statement usually involves doing something wrong to achieve a positive outcome, then justifying the wrong by pointing to the positive result. Two examples come to mind:
Lying on a resume. One might rationalize that embellishing one's resume could result in a higher paying job, thus they'll be better able to support themselves and their family. While providing well for one's family is morally honorable, does the end justify the means? How is lying viewed in the eyes of God?  (Pr 12:22; 13:5; 14:5) In this case the means were dishonest and unethical, therefore the end is dishonest and unethical.

Receiving an abortion. One might rationalize that the abortion can save the life of the mother. While saving the life of the mother is morally right, does the end justify the means? How is the unborn child viewed in the eyes of God?  (Psalm 139:13-16; Job 31:15) In this case the means involve murder, therefore the end is murder to save life.

Both of these examples have a positive outcome. A great job that pays well, and a mother that is saved and can live out the rest of her life. The No Blood doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses now has a positive outcome. But does the end justify the means?

What's At Stake

The purpose of Part 1, 2 and 3 of this series of articles is to share secular facts and reasoning. Then each can make their own decision based upon their conscience. I hope that the information provided helps all to step back and see the forest, away from the trees. We should be aware that in an emergency situation, should we or our loved one even whisper to ambulance or ER personnel the words "Jehovah's Witness", or should they see our No Blood card, we will set in motion a legal and ethical protocol that could be very difficult to stop. Even should one advise that they no longer adhere to the teaching; the mere mention could cause those treating us to hesitate; to not be certain, to not act instinctively to preserve our life during the all-important "golden hour."  

In Parts 4 and 5 we delve into scripture. We will consider Noachian law, the Mosaic law, and finally the Apostolic Decree. Jehovah's Witnesses and Blood – Part 4I examine only a few key texts with references to avoid redundancy with the excellent and comprehensive work of Apollos (See Jehovah's Witnesses and the No Blood Doctrine) regarding the scriptural view.
[1] It would be impossible to accurately account for the number of deaths that might have been avoidable had the medical teams caring for JW patients been permitted to intervene with a potentially life-saving intervention. Much case history is available that strongly suggests that, in the opinion of medical personnel, the percentage for patient survival would have increased dramatically had such intervention been available.

Archived Comments

We have moved to the Disqus commenting system. To post a new comment, go to the bottom of this page.

  • Comment by Meleti Vivlon on 2016-01-27 17:02:31

    What a great exposé! You have shown that the teaching that the advancements in bloodless medicine are a blessing from Jehovah is sheer propaganda. The Bible condemns child sacrifice. Jehovah wouldn't have us sacrifice our children on the altar of medical science. He is a God of love.

  • Comment by Willy on 2016-01-28 09:10:27

    Brother Sopater,
    Thank for the research and effort to make this difficult subject more easy to read and understand.
    Your sister in Christ

    • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-28 09:34:54

      Thank you Willy, I realize its a lengthy article,but this doctrine permeates the very fabric of JW culture. The No Blood doctrine is the most peculiar of all the teachings that separate us from other faiths. The No Blood cards and tags are like a badge of honor and millions are willing become martyrs in support of this man made tradition.
      To demolish deeply entrenched speculation and presumption raised against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:4,5) requires many facts and much sound reasoning. I pray this information will save lives.

      • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-28 14:23:16

        I agree the No Blood doctrine is among the most peculiar. The more I've learned about this doctrine (and in particular how Watchtower has behaved when questioned over it) the more the No Blood symbol reminds of the purple triangle forced on honest JWs under German Nazism. It's a symbol of needless death brought on by an authoritarian rule.

        • Reply by Anonymous on 2016-01-28 15:47:48

          I agree, Marvin.

  • Comment by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-28 09:21:47

    There are many things telling me that top leadership inside Watchtower has not believed in its own blood doctrine for years, but one thing is very telling and is, in my view, conclusive. Let me explain...
    When we humans introduce material into our digestive tract the very first thing that happens is fractionation. Most foods are not like alcohol, which can be immediately absorbed and distributed as is and then used as fuel by the body. Most foods must be broken down first. There are commercial operations whose specialty is taking materials (e.g., various vegetation) and fractionating them to isolate and extract specific ingredients carrying a type of nutrition that a person might need a nutritional boost of. Vitamins pills are an example of this. By fractionation what we've accomplished is a means to get what we want from the original raw material (e.g., vegetation) and discard the rest. Essentially this is what our bodies do with food. Food is fractionated and useful fractions are metabolized by the body for nutritional gain, and the rest is discarded by excretion.
    Sit back and think about that. In most (nearly all) cases fractionation is the first step of gaining nutritional value from what we eat. Yet Watchtower's blood doctrine treats fractionation of blood as though it's a means of taking what we want from blood and still being able to say we've abstained from it. Ironically, when it comes to nutrition and blood transfusion, there is a way to use blood for parenteral nutrition (IV nutritional support) and that is by transfusion of plasma proteins. This is not the most efficient or cost-effective method of providing parenteral nutrition, but it is a viable option and has been used as such in the past.(Ref: Vinnars et al, History of Parenteral Nutrition, Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2003, pp. 225-231) What's ironic about this? The same doctrine that prohibits transfusion of blood on the basis that it is "nutrition" does today allow transfusion of plasma proteins in as large a quantity as a patient wants and this is the very blood component that is viable as nutrition when administered intravenously. Watchtower leadership surely knows this because it has licensed physicians working for them.
    So what do we have here? We have a doctrine position advocating an abstention from a nutritional gain from blood by transfusion on one hand, yet on the other hand the same doctrine provides for nutritional gain from blood by fractionating components from blood that are actually useful as nutritional support when administered intravenously.
    My view is that no leadership could possibly hold a position like this and still believe in the original doctrinal premise. My view is Watchtower's leadership does not hold a conviction in its own blood doctrine, and that for a long, long time.

    • Reply by Father jack on 2016-01-28 09:36:46

      The real test would be if the leadership desperatly needed a transfusion , but no doubt if that was the case it would be kept secret at all costs ,

      • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-28 13:50:51

        Think about this:
        When children of Jehovah's Witnesses were being brutally persecuted in the United States over refusing to pledge allegiance to the United States, top Watchtower leadership were behind the scenes pledging the national Oath of Allegiance to the United States in order to secure passports make their international travel more efficient. Someone neglected to inform the general community of Jehovah's Witnesses that it was entirely appropriate to pledge the national Oath of Allegiance to the United States, and to do so with no mental reservation whatsoever as though it could possibly be wrong. No. Children of Jehovah's Witnesses were never told they could stand up and pledge the highest allegiance to the United States recognized under US Statute and common law, and to do so in order to prove their good citizenship and intentions. The result? Those children suffered and needless. I know in my case had I stood up and told classmates I would pledge the same oath to the nation as the President of the United States pledged upon entering office, it would have made a difference. In particular it would have made a difference to school authorities, and it would have educated my classmates. But this was not given to me by Mother (read: The Society, Watchtower) as even an alternative. Yet The Society's top leadership were, to a man, pledging that very national Oath of Allegiance to the Unites States.
        Father Jack, there is much to the test you suggest. In the case of pledging the US national Oath of Allegiance, to this very day the organization has not come clean by telling its membership they were all pledging this oath before, through and after the period of greatest persecution over JWs refusing to pledge national oaths of allegiance. They were all doing it in secret. Only a few years ago was this discovered and revealed, and it was not revealed by Watchtower!

        • Reply by Anonymous on 2016-01-28 13:56:26

          Can you post here the allegiance oath on passports of the time?
          Thank you,

          • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-28 14:19:24

            And, here:

            • Reply by Anonymous on 2016-01-28 15:20:10

              Thank you, Marvin.
              We all have had our personal experiences in the Organization. With regard to national oaths of allegiance, which you have brought up, my experience has been as follows:
              I did not pledge allegiance to the FLAG because it was regarded as an object of worship with all the required traditions and rules applied to objects of worship. A flag should not touch the ground, it must be destroyed in the approved manner etc. So as a child I did not pledge allegiance to the FLAG.
              As an adult I did swear/affirm loyalty to the government meaning I would not take up arms against it.
              There was a difference between pledging allegiance to an almost religiously revered national symbol and affirming loyalty to Caesar. The former for us bordered on worship, the latter on giving to Caesar what belongs to him.
              It was viewed as doing what Daniel's three companions did, they refused to bow down in worship to a religious national symbol but in their everyday lives they loyally served the Babylonian king.
              This was my experience.

              • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-28 15:52:39

                I don't want to run the subject off course, but just a tab bit more about my experience I'll add.
                I agree with you on the symbol thing. Saluting a symbol is arguably an act of idolatry and that part I get. In my case the thing that caused problems was the national allegiance. From classmates and school authorities I'd be confronted with things like, "If you don't want to salute the flag why not just pledge allegiance to the country?" Or, "We understand the objection based on a symbol, but can you stand here and just tell us today whether you will pledge allegiance to the United States of America?" I was constantly confronted with these situations, including when in field service. The answer I was trained to give was "I won't pledge allegiance to any country!"
                It didn't matter so much to my classmates, school authorities or fellow citizens if I pledged to a flag. What really mattered to them was whether I'd pledge allegiance to the country. Because I declined I suffered persecution, which sometimes was very, very cruel. But I faced it, and most of it while I was a child. Only later did I learn as an adult that the top leadership within Watchtower was the entire time pledging the highest oath of allegiance recognized under law to the United States of America! It was a supreme insult to know what I was trained to suffer for as a child was not being upheld by those responsible for the teaching I was handed. I felt betrayed right down to the bone.
                I had to ask myself, what is this all about? I've had to ask myself the same question too about the whole blood doctrine debacle. In the end, it looks to me like both of these doctrinal positions were put in place as a means to distinguish Jehovah's Witnesses for sake of growing a religious organization. It was, essentially, a media campaign! I couldn't make more sense of it than that. No on can convince me that Watchtower's top leadership honestly thinks it's a true statement to say Jehovah's Witnesses abstain from the donor blood supply when the fact of the matter is Jehovah's Witnesses use mightily from this very blood supply. Furthermore, no one within Watchtower's top leadership would dare look in my eyes and say 'You won't find one of us pledging allegiance to the United States of America." They wouldn't dare say it because it would be an utter lie and I'd show them plenty of instances where they did just that while at the same time leading their followers to believe doing so was immoral.

                • Reply by Vox Ratio on 2016-01-28 20:16:48

                  Hi Marvin,
                  Reading your account left me saddened, but also made me reflect on the great joy ahead of us. You bore the brunt of a cruel and ignorant world and stood fast for what you then believed in. Even if you suffered needlessly, your heart suffered for Christ – and that is a treasure that no-one can take from you now (1 Pet. 2:19). The heavens have chronicled your stance, and as you well know, our Father never forgets an act of true loyalty and love for him (Heb. 6:10). May God grant you peace, my brother.

                  • Reply by willy on 2016-01-29 04:46:20

                    Dear Marvin, as I read your reply to Joshua, Your story brought tears to my eyes, and I say amen to the reply Vox Ratio gave you. He hit the nail right on the head., and may God and his Christ gives us all peace in our hearts.
                    Kind regards your sister Willy

                • Reply by Anonymous on 2016-01-29 11:48:46

                  I'm sorry to hear of your bad experience, Marvin. During the war some Witnesses were beaten and even worse, a time of heightened nationalism, and naturally so. After the war that same fervent patriotism continued to mistakenly cause trouble for some.
                  In my case, and that of school age JWs in my area, as far as I know, we had little more than bad looks turned our way. Most of that in the beginning of the year, many of them soon ignored it afterwards. But I'm talking late 50's and 60's a time far different than during the war and immediately after.
                  I was taught not to salute the flag, as it was an act of worship, but that we nonetheless respected, obeyed, and were loyal to our country and, if asked, promising to never take up arms against it.
                  Truthfully, not one teacher or fellow student ever questioned me over the salute. Not one.
                  I'm very sorry to hear you had such a bad time, brother.

  • Comment by Anonymous on 2016-01-28 09:34:57

    Everything that could be wrong with the blood policy is most certainly found within it.
    There is one fact rarely mentioned, you may have touched on it, and if so, I apologize for missing it.
    I can make no claim to understanding the human mind and the human heart even less so. Raymond Franz once quoted Ed Dunlap as saying that what we have are followers of followers. I take that to mean there was a follow the leader mentality which was circular.
    My point brother is that many in the leadership, we ourselves once followed, themselves believed the blood policy and would have died for it. Raymond Franz' wife Cynthia herself almost gave her life for it. This changes nothing except to add a note of fairness that there were those involved in setting the policy who BELIEVED it as well.
    Today it appears the Governing Body is ready and eager to break the chains that bind them to their predecessors. They are eager to prove themselves as men who will break with Knorr's generation when necessary and prudent. There may be voices at Bethel today among the Helpers and perhaps on the Governing Body who advocate for a reexamination of the blood policy but as yet their voices have not won the day, not as yet.
    Who can predict what is in store for the Organization under the leadership of men ready to leave the past? Time will tell. There is only ONE hope for change and that hope lies with Watchtower leadership.
    I truly appreciate your fine article, thank you brother.

    • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-28 10:48:50

      Thank you Joshua.
      Yes, I recall Ray saying in CoC that leadership has been "victims of victims".
      Can we honestly feel the originators (back in 1945) were victims? I do believe they were victims of to the never ending "imminence of Armageddon" teaching handed them from Rutherford at the beginning of WW2. As far as the blood doctrine itself, I feel there's enough reliable history to show that they knew better. I think they had knowledge of current medical science, but felt the need to keep JW's in the limelight and courts as being "separate from the world." Their conviction that Armageddon was nigh.....blinded them completely. So they were victims of this, I agree.
      But I don't seem them as victims for creating the doctrine and pushing it.
      As for each generation that's followed, well, they've inherited a huge millstone around the neck of the organization. Yes, you and I believed it and would die for it, but we were not privy to upper level discussions behind closed doors. To say they truly believed in it can't be confirmed. Did some on the GB ever bring this teaching up for discussion and possible reform? Or, did they know the situation was impossible, that they couldn't rescind it due to liability? If I had been in their shoes, I would have known it could never be reversed, that the organization is married to this teaching until Armageddon. We can ask for forgiveness, surely Jehovah will understand.
      I do feel that in the 1990's things changed. I think the GB handed the wheel to the attorneys and they've been navigating the minefield ever since. HBOC's were in R&D late the decade and looking quite promising. The attorneys saw the HBOC as the opportunity to jump off the runaway train (with the bridge out ahead). First they allowed "minor" fractions. Then cleverly slipped the elephant (hemoglobin) in the room to open the path for the HBOC. It was a sound strategy but depended upon the success of the HBOC. If the HBOC failed, the GB and attorneys are left with having let us peek at their hand. While they maintain their best poker face (that they believe in the doctrine), by allowing 100% of the ingredients of blood, we know its a bluff.
      Had the HBOC's been successful, the millstone would have been cut loose. The fact that HBOC failed assured me of two things:
      1. Jehovah's spirit or blessing has NEVER been involved with this teaching.
      2. It does not appear Jehovah is going to allow this tragedy to resolve itself. The clock is ticking, many are awakening, the cat is out of the bag. My personal feeling is that Jehovah will demand justice in behalf of those who have perished.
      Even though so doing will bring severe consequences to the organization.
      Warm brotherly love,

      • Reply by Anonymous on 2016-01-28 12:17:51

        I leave all things in Jehovah's hands recognizing that since the fall of Adam and Eve men have had a propensity toward disregarding God's word and to push ahead. Israel went wrong many times but Christ came to them nonetheless. Christianity has exercised more evil than ancient Israel yet Christians hope for Christ's return.
        Who among us can claim to know the heart of every man in a responsible position at Bethel?
        King Manasseh practiced idolatry and made his children pass through the fire. He was punished, he repented, and was forgiven. Surely, for the sake of the 8 million brothers and sisters who love Jehovah, we can hope that Jehovah will allow a similar outcome.
        But should Jehovah and Christ choose to allow the Witness religion to shrivel and die along with every Christian religion that has not strictly followed His Son, then the world is indeed about to enter a Great Tribulation never before seen.
        I pray that the Witness religion and all Christian religions find their way toward Christ by loving God with all their heart and their neighbor no matter who he may be or what sins he may practice.
        I love you as a brother and friend, Sopator, and look forward to the day when we will have conversations on more pleasant topics, perhaps which species of tomatoes we're planting that spring. :)
        I love my God who has given me repentance and forgiveness and His love.

      • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-28 12:34:37

        There is reason to believe Watchtower leadership was, at the time, willing to assert a doctrinal position knowing that position was false at a fundamental level because of a potential benefit to be had for the organization. The period that saw birth Watchtower's blood doctrine also saw the birth of Watchtower's neutrality doctrine in relation to pledging allegiance to national entities. Something very peculiar happened in year 1941. Bear with me through the next long paragraph, there is a point...
        In 1941 the Watchtower organization offered to Jehovah's Witnesses an a pledge of allegiance statement as an alternative to the standard issue pledge made verbally by classroom children of the era in the United States. This alternate pledge was presented to US Courts at essentially the same time. What's peculiar about this alternate pledge is that the stated purpose was to alley popular concern about Jehovah's Witnesses and the reliability of their citizenship. Were this was really the intent the shortest and most sure way to accomplish this would have been to state that Jehovah's Witnesses were willing to and held no reservation whatsoever about pledging the actual national Oath of Allegiance recognized under US Statute as the highest oath of allegiance to, for example, the United States. The then Watchtower leadership did not offer this as the obvious viable alternative to the classroom pledge of allegiance though all Watchtower's leadership had always pledged this oath on a personal basis and continued to do so afterward. The fact of this omission betrays an ulterior intent in relation to the organization's stated objective to its neutrality doctrine. I bring this up not to confuse the issue with too much information but, rather, because the blood doctrine was born during the same era by the same leadership. In the case of the neutrality doctrine the alternate pledge offer could not have been more hypocritical because it failed to advertise to Jehovah's Witnesses that it was completely acceptable to do what the organization's top leadership was already doing, and had Jehovah's Witnesses as a community acted to pledge the same oath of allegiance as the leadership was pledging behind the scenes there would have been little for the greater community to be worried about. It was/is, the same oath of allegiance declared by nothing less than every President of the United States, not to mention lesser positions like Officers in the nation's armed forces. The thing both the blood and neutrality doctrine hold in common is that each led to tremendous scrutiny and persecution of the community of Jehovah's Witnesses, and there is further evidence that this attention is what was sought the whole time. What is that evidence?
        In year 1961 Watchtower doubled-down on its blood doctrine by making it mandatory to abide by it under threat of disfellowshipping. In its 1961 publication titled Yearbook the organization published this statement:
        "Publicity through the press, radio and television concerning the activities of the New World society has stepped up tremendously during the past ear. Well over 12,000 column inches of newspaper and magazine space have been devoted to the organization. The newspapers take great delight in publicizing our stand relative to blood transfusion, noticeably so since the result of the Jehu case reported in the July 8 Awake!"
        It’s more than a bit curious that the Watchtower organization would bother measuring over 12,000 inches of column space dedicated to itself, let alone gawk of publicity due to its blood doctrine. That is, unless publicity gained the result of its blood doctrine was important to them.
        I agree there was an intent to benefit from the blood doctrine in ways never made known to the greater community of Jehovah's Witnesses, and the community has paid a high price for this, only later on to have the original doctrine virtually gutted.

        • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-28 18:16:06

          You are correct my brother. It is first and foremost, what is expedient for the organization isn't it? I'm reminded of what Ray said about Mexico back in the 60's and 70's..... the GB turning the other way while brothers in Mexico bribed military officials (and lied that they had performed the obligatory one year military service to avoid going to prison) which placed them in the National Reserves..... the first to be called in the event of a war...... all because the GB wanted and needed them to remain elders and CO's.
          This same GB forced the Malawi brothers and sisters to face harsh persecution (even death) losing all their possessions, having to move as refugees to another country, our dear sisters and young girls were raped...... all because the GB said they could not buy the political party card. This card was nothing more than an ID for its citizens. There was only one political party allowed by their constitution.
          How could these men act so rigid and uncaring in one case, yet so tolerant even of lying and deceit in another?
          Are we not reminded of Jesus words:
          "Blind guides! You strain out the gnat yet swallow down the camel;" (Matt 23:24)
          To OFFICIALLY reform the No Blood doctrine by making blood a conscience matter, or at the minimum, remove the threat of sanction, will NEVER be in the best interests of the organization.
          The fact that members are harmed, that their families grieve their loss is collateral damage to protect the organization's interests and assets.
          In their minds, Jehovah can and will rectify any injustice in the resurrection.

  • Comment by Greg on 2016-01-28 17:50:30

    Quote "Also the view that a heart transplant could cause the recipient to take on personality traits of the donor?"
    I watched a TV program (positive about transplants) that demonstrated that this is clearly so. A guy that never climbed a hill became a mountain climber. A guy who couldn't get his body off the couch became a mad cyclist, riding in all sorts of inclement weather. I personally knew of a young lady who got a heart lung from a man...messed her up like you wouldn't believe.
    Through the '60s and '70s the amount of people that died from whole blood transfusions would be astounding. They were pumping the stuff as it was the great panacea. Almost no records of it because if a person survived briefly after an operation it is considered a success and if they died a week later it was because of complications.
    The stories abound of people sitting up eating and talking after an opp and suddenly dead three days later for no apparent reason. In the meantime they've pumped in a gallon of the stuff and an extra unit for good measure.
    There was a reason SAS (special forces operatives) were not given blood transfusions after being wounded, primary because the period of recovery was significantly longer and more prone to complications. In fact I know of a story where a SAS officer pulled a gun on an American surgeon in Afghanistan when he tried to give a wounded officer a blood transfusion.
    What I'm saying is..Yes the Watchtower is probably doctrinally wrong but don't promote whole blood transfusions as some sort of wonderful life saving panacea as promoted by its provider.
    " way suggesting that the medical profession has acted unethically or unscrupulously. They have done all they possibly can to save lives.'
    The fact is the industry has caused more deaths than lives saved by blood transfusions.
    The propaganda of the medical industry is equal or exceeds religious or political propaganda.
    It's history is littered with the most disgraceful unimaginable horrors, even modern medicine practices will be disgraced by future generations. But that'll be more new light. Also the average doctor and surgeon is way behind the curve of what is best practice.
    "Much case history is available that strongly suggests that, in the opinion of medical personnel, the percentage for patient survival would have increased dramatically..."
    This opinion is worth little. It comes from an industry with a powerful propaganda machine, an industry that never admits mistakes and never apologises. An industry that hides it's many mistakes and takes no responsibility, hence the huge litigation industry built up about it. In fact in Australia, it was once almost impossible to litigate against it.
    The opinion of a medical personnel has about the same validity as the opinion of a politician, businessman or a clergyman. It will heavily weighted to personal or corporate agenda.
    The government is well aware that the medical industry needs to be held accountable but knows it'd be instant death at the polls to do so.
    My point is, take whatever the medical industry says with their 'highly' trained doctors and surgeons, with a grain of salt. Be very careful about using their opinions to shore up an argument you wish to make.
    Just personally, this 'apostate' would not take in somebody else's DNA which means red blood cells and white cells. Everything else would be fine with me.
    Just another thing while I'm in the mood...This article is written with an incredible number of questions.
    I use to do the same, than one day it occurred to me that this is the way the Watchtower writes and this
    method goes way back to Russell's day.
    For me, when somebody is writing an authoritative article as above, questions should be kept at a minimum.
    It makes it much more readable and allows the reader to more easily decide for himself about the points presented.

    • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-28 19:31:01

      You said:
      "I watched a TV program (positive about transplants) that demonstrated that this is clearly so. A guy that never climbed a hill became a mountain climber. A guy who couldn’t get his body off the couch became a mad cyclist, riding in all sorts of inclement weather. I personally knew of a young lady who got a heart lung from a man…messed her up like you wouldn’t believe.
      Perhaps you could be more specific, I prefer quotations from references, not just anecdotal stories.
      The following is a quote from a reputable article in Discover magazine dated July 31, 2014 entitled "Can Getting A Heart Transplant Change Your Personality?" (I'm sure you can google this for yourself)
      “Heart transplantation is not simply a question of replacing an organ that no longer functions. The heart is often seen as source of love, emotions, and focus of personality traits. To gain insight into the problem of whether transplant patients themselves feel a change in personality after having received a donor heart, 47 patients who were transplanted over a period of 2 years in Vienna, Austria, were asked for an interview. Three groups of patients could be identified: 79% stated that their personality had not changed at all postoperatively. In this group, patients showed massive defense and denial reactions, mainly by rapidly changing the subject or making the question ridiculous. Fifteen per cent stated that their personality had indeed changed, but not because of the donor organ, but due to the life-threatening event. Six per cent (three patients) reported a distinct change of personality due to their new hearts. These incorporation fantasies forced them to change feelings and reactions and accept those of the donor. Verbatim statements of these heart transplant recipients show that there seem to be severe problems regarding graft incorporation, which are based on the age-old idea of the heart as a centre that houses feelings and forms the personality.”
      I will refer to you as "brother" though I'm not sure you want me to. I hold the facts presented in this recent study to be far more reliable than anecdotal stories. The above study totally refutes your claim.
      You said:
      "What I’m saying is..Yes the Watchtower is probably doctrinally wrong but don’t promote whole blood transfusions as some sort of wonderful life saving panacea as promoted by its provider."
      May I ask, where did I say a transfusion was a wonderful life saving panacea? You statement is highly unprofessional and misleading, if not outright false. If you re-read the article, I think you'll see my mention of transfusion intervention in the "end of life" setting, a last resort therapy when all has been exhausted. In the event I needed elective surgery, I would choose the very best bloodless surgeon around. I would tell him I do not like blood transfusions, FOR MEDICAL REASONS. I would give him permission to intervene ONLY if in his professional opinion he felt I would otherwise die on the operating table.
      You said:
      “Much case history is available that strongly suggests that, in the opinion of medical personnel, the percentage for patient survival would have increased dramatically…” This opinion is worth little. It comes from an industry with a powerful propaganda machine, an industry that never admits mistakes and never apologises."
      Are you disputing the fact that, in the case of severe hemorrhagic shock and imminent end of life, that the rate for survival would not dramatically increase if transfusion intervention were available? If so, please provide case study history to support your view.
      You said:
      "For me, when somebody is writing an authoritative article as above, questions should be kept at a minimum.
      It makes it much more readable and allows the reader to more easily decide for himself about the points presented."
      Brother, may I ask: It seems as though you consider yourself an authority in critiquing journalism? If so, please share with us some of your work and your credentials.
      We are happy that you have joined us. I do hope you'll consider seasoning your comments with a little salt. (Col 4:6)

      • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-28 20:18:43

        One last comment on your post.
        You said:
        "The fact is the industry has caused more deaths than lives saved by blood transfusions."
        Can you please provide reputable reference for this claim?

        • Reply by Greg on 2016-01-29 01:05:00

          Just google "iatrogenic death rate" plenty of info there. Just remember the profession is self reporting.

          • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-29 09:04:13

            There are plenty of premature deaths caused by medical mistakes and unforeseen lethal reactions to otherwise appropriate medical treatment. This is a part of the history of medical advancement.
            To me the single most important statistic about whether as a whole medical science and practice is advancing is the calculated average life span. In the last century life expectancy in the United States increased by decades. Medical science is for the purpose of prolonging life and maintaining a higher quality of life, human life in this instance. To what do you attribute the increase in longevity over the past century if not advances made by medical science in knowledge of how to prolong life?
            Specifically of blood transfusion, as an invasive medical procedure it has risks, but it also has potential benefits. Whether to transfuse a patient with blood or a product rendered from blood is best determined by a risk-to-benefit assessment based on that patient's immediate presentation. If the risk outweighs the potential benefit then you don't. If the risk is outweighed by the potential benefit and the potential benefit is essential then you do, if it's the best option available to get the same benefit. So, for example, in the case of a patient who's lost nearly all their blood there is little option to help preserve life except immediate transfusion of blood or a product rendered from blood like packed red cells. Without this immediate action nothing else matters in terms of treating that patient, because they'd be dead.
            None of this is said to minimize the level and/or gravity of morbidity and mortality the result of medical practice, whether the result of malpractice or unforeseeable complications. It is only to point out that the development of hematological medicine has contributed to improved outcomes in patients. Of course, every competent adult should have the last say in whether, how or what they will allow in terms of medical intervention and everyone should respect that. And, as you point out, in this case the real question is whether there is a biblical prohibition against transfusion of blood or products rendered from blood.

            • Reply by Greg on 2016-02-01 04:29:44

              I would venture forth the opinion that a massive reduction in accidents in industry and on the farm is the major reason for the average increase in lifespan. The greater availability of medical care along with great strides in trauma care has certainly played its part.
              Anyway my point still stands. Best to prove it's doctrinally wrong by the use of the scriptures
              and exclude opinion pieces by the provider or somehow portray the industry truly cares for its customers. I casually follow the stock market, I can assure you the business answers first to its stockholders.
              I was with 84 year old woman as she was dying in hospital. She clearly was taking her last breaths but with great discomfort to her, they took her out to give a chest xray and she died an hour later. Why did they do that? Because they really cared or am I being cynical by suggesting they could send one last bill to the government? I can repeat a variation of that theme 3 times.
              The industry runs almost parallel with religion and amazingly narrow minded or should I say focused?
              They proclaim they only ever care for you, than knowingly fully screw you over.
              At least with big business and politics you half expect to be screwed over.

              • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-02-01 09:03:00

                Dear Greg,
                A primary tool making the "great strides in trauma care" you speak of includes the tremendous progress in hematological medicine over the past 100-years.

                • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-02-01 09:11:20

                  You make an excellent visual in your scenario:
                  "If, for instance, we have an otherwise healthy child and that child is suddenly bleeding out from a traumatic laceration and facing multiple organ failures unless oxygen delivery can be immediately established, what precisely do you suggest other than transfusion of packed red cells, or even whole blood if necessary? Would you have physicians stand by and withhold probably the only therapy that would prevent that patient from dying?"
                  I'd like to add one additional detail: Let's say the child involved is Greg's child or grandchild?
                  I wonder how hostile he would be toward paramedics and ER personnel?

      • Reply by Greg on 2016-01-29 00:49:55

        Thanks for the counsel Bro. Sopater. Yes quite right I'm not a journalist or writer but I know what is easy to read and what a leading question is. There were 2 entire paragraphs almost filled with questions in the above article, I was exhausted at the end of it.
        The TV show was journalistic of course, so half of it was probably rubbish, but nevertheless it was compelling. Here is a quote from Dr. Copeland, the University of Arizona transplant surgeon,
        Although he has serious doubts that they may also inherit memories and tastes from their donors, Copeland says the topic merits further study. "I think it is highly unlikely that it is true," he says of the cellular memory theory, "but I wouldn't rule it out totally."
        But I seen what I seen with this distressed young lady having a male heart.
        Your question "...Also the view that a heart transplant could cause the recipient to take on personality traits of the donor?" is slightly mocking the concept....agreed? But the above quoted surgeon says it could be.. maybe a possibility. And as we know, reputable studies are in the permanent state of being discredited.
        I've re-read your article and I didn't see the tone of the article as an "a 'end of life setting'.
        In the day, many, many blood transfusions given as a matter of process for any operation, elective or not.
        50 years ago I had my tonsils out, they wanted to give blood as a matter of 'insurance'.
        I'm glad my mother took a stand. I'm quite sure I would be no more alive today if they gave me blood,
        but many of the poor little blighters got it. There were about ten of us in the ward at the time.
        "For decades, members (including parents of infants and children) have taken their stand, assured that the No Blood doctrine is biblical. Refusing to accept a potentially life-saving intervention resulted in the untimely deaths of an unknown number. Only Jehovah knows how many souls have been lost prematurely and unnecessarily."
        See what you have done here? In one sentence you have stated a definite. "Untimely deaths", cause by refusing a "potentially life-saving" procedure. "Potentially" is a vague word at best.
        And quite right you didn't say transfusions were a panacea, so I apologize to you. The industry certainly promoted it as such (no I'm not able to provide references) you only had to live through those times, a casual walk through a hospital in those days was enough.
        I think we are seeing this through different goggles.
        You see it as a last desperate attempt to save someone.
        I see it at a time when transfusions were given for the common cold (hyperbole I know but not that far from the truth).
        Times have changed but at the time the Watchtower formulated its policies and doctrine, the medical profession was in full swing abusing transfusions, so who knows, inadvertently, they may have saved more people with their doctrine than those that died by their doctrine.

        • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-29 06:55:26

          You mentioned earlier that you felt my use of questions is similar to Watchtower. Well that it may be.
          Consider this: There are more than 8 million humans on this planet going through everyday activities who at any moment could be faced with an emergency. A car accident, industrial accident, gunshot wound, deep laceration, a heart attack, a stroke (there are of course many other scenarios). Basically, any medical situation where the patient is losing blood and may be facing hemorrhagic shock.
          Writing for our "regular" audience here at BP is like preaching to the choir. Many already reject the No Blood doctrine for doctrinal reasons. The challenge with attacking the teaching doctrinally is that it is so effortless for the lurking JW to bring up his WT CD Library, do a scripture search, read the organizational spin on that text, then dismiss any alternate view. The lurking JW must be settled that the teaching is doctrinally supported. They couldn't bear the thought otherwise. A scripture with an alternate view can be readily rebutted in WT literature, so they remain in their comfort zone, all is good.
          So, if you were to contemplate writing articles to reach out to JW lurkers, what approach would you use? Would you make the article highly technical, using words and thoughts that only those with doctorate degrees can understand? Would you deal with only the doctrinal perspective, avoiding common sense reasoning and thought provoking questions?
          Again, any alternate view that challenges the official JW view is readily dismissed in JW literature. Within a minute or two, the reader is satisfied with the explanation found in the WT publication. How can I say this with such assurance? Because I'm speaking of yours truly a few years ago.
          The historical narrative, medical facts and perspective, along with an ample dose of simple common sense "meandering" is something the lurking JW can't rebut with JW literature. Their only option is to accept what is said as fact (then process that - ouch) or, research to find facts that prove it wrong. And outside the box research is exactly what this writer (and all at BP) pray they will do. It's the beginning of the awakening process.
          I'm reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul at 1 Cor 9:20-22 (NIV):
          "To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself and not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those no having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some."
          I remember well when I was a lurking JW...... perhaps in my subconscious. my writing style is to appeal to folks that are where I was a few years ago. I see that as a good thing.
          You said:
          "See what you have done here? In one sentence you have stated a definite. “Untimely deaths”, cause by refusing a “potentially life-saving” procedure. “Potentially” is a vague word at best."
          Do you not agree that there have been untimely deaths? Do you agree that there is no way anyone could account for those who might have survived with an intervention, or those that may have survived without an intervention? As I see it, "potentially" is the only honest way to describe this.
          You said:
          "I’ve re-read your article and I didn’t see the tone of the article as an “a ‘end of life setting’."
          The following is the "tone" I was referring to:
          This writer cannot imagine the FDA participating in clinical trials that do not allow end-of-life intervention to save the patient.
          And the closing paragraph (What is at stake?) deals specifically with an "emergency" situation, which often degrades to an "end of life" setting in the event of hemorrhagic shock. Note the last two words of the article refer to the "golden hour", a term used only in end of life settings.
          We should be aware that in an emergency situation, should we or our loved one even whisper to ambulance or ER personnel the words “Jehovah’s Witness”, or should they see our No Blood card, we will set in motion a legal and ethical protocol that could be very difficult to stop. Even should one advise that they no longer adhere to the teaching; the mere mention could cause those treating us to hesitate; to not be certain, to not act instinctively to preserve our life during the all-important “golden hour.”

          • Reply by Greg on 2016-02-01 05:22:41

            Lot of questions again. I've got to admit you love lots of words and questions.
            The question of blood for most lurkers is probably the last thing a JW would look at.
            1914 is was difficult enough to come to terms with. By the time a new apostate or potential apostate looks at blood he is well along his journey.
            I'm sure someone out there will say blood was the thing that changed them but it would be relatively rare. The thought of whole blood transfusion turns my stomach as it would most JWs and many exJWs.
            Doctrinally I've come understand it's not Biblical but I would still refuse whole blood if I was to face a potentially life ending trauma. It's seems a rather ancient idea of which the industry is emotionally attached to. I haven't research it but I sure there are smarter ideas out there.
            I will endevour to answer this paragraph.
            "Do you not agree that there have been untimely deaths? Do you agree that there is no way anyone could account for those who might have survived with an intervention, or those that may have survived without an intervention?"
            The industry has caused a massive number of untimely deaths. Giving blood transfusions has caused massive number of deaths either by mismatching, disease or being simply unnecessary. Those that have potentially died from refusing blood is miniscule to the overall number of untimely deaths the industry has caused.
            Another story...The stepfather of a very close friend of mine was an anesthetist. Pretty important job one would say. He hated Jehovah's Witnesses. When he was in hospital
            on his deathbed he nevertheless endured a heart operation but refused to have blood right to the end. This guy observed probably hundreds of blood transfusions and literally over his life time had the life of thousands of patients in his hands. When his turn came, absolutely, categorically refused to have blood. This was about 6 or seven years ago. He obviously did not believe his own industries opinions or propaganda.

            • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-02-01 08:11:16

              I couldn't disagree with your more. Hemoglobin being allowed in 2004 began my awakening process. I feel I am not alone. To challenge the No Blood teaching doctrinally is much like a he said she said. The lurking JW can readily bring up the WT CD Library and find a rebuttal to any scripture or reasoning that challenges the doctrine. Hands down. They move on content the No Blood teaching is scriptural.
              On the other hand, to present historical, secular, and scientific facts present a dilemma for the JW. They can not refute this information using the WT CD Library.
              Who said anything about accepting whole blood transfusions? I believe I've made it clear that I view transfusion therapy as an "end of life" option that "potentially" preserves life. I think of it as a life raft attached to a sailboat. I have no intention of ever using the life raft, I don't even like the thought. However, if the sailboat was caught in a storm in the middle of the ocean and started taking on water, I will accept the grave risk of jumping in the life raft, compared to staying on the boat while it sinks. I realize that I may not survive the sharks, the lack of water and food, the exposure to the sun. But I'm aware of actual case history proving the life raft just might keep me alive until I can be rescued. Though grave, it is the lesser of the two evils.
              BTW, you seem to enjoy sharing anecdotal stories as much as I like to ask questions :)
              Let me share a fact of history with you:
              "The massive deployment of blood and blood plasma for British and American forces was hailed as one of the great success stories of WW2. The mortality rate in combat, according to Brigadier General Douglas Kendrick, who supervised the American Army's blood program, was reduced by 50% in WW2 because of the availability of 'prompt and adequate resuscitation', in the routine of which whole blood and plasma play a major roles." (Flesh and Blood, Organ Transplantation and Blood Transfusion in Twentieth Century America 2008 pp. 59-60)
              In my case, I won't take the risk of getting on the life raft until its confirmed the boat is going down.

              • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-02-01 08:41:54

                One last thought (if you still hold your view then I'm spinning my wheels).
                One of the reasons I see this as a "glass half full" situation (judging the performance of the medical profession) is that to attack them (as you have) only serves to create further angst than already exists.
                As your story noted, the anesthesiologist HATED JW's. I don't know about you, but when I go to a restaurant, I don't want the waiter or cook to hate me.
                It's not been a perfect world. Many mistakes have happened, mostly due to lack of knowledge. This can also be said of the No Blood doctrine itself. While Woodworth was aware of the breakthroughs regarding contemporary medicine in 1945, his lack of knowledge and distrust of the medical profession allowed him to continue to embrace the antiquated notion.
                Yes it is a business. Yes, it was definitely thought (in times past) that more was better, that it's better to be safe than sorry. Now they know that less is better.
                How did they learn this? We helped them, unwittingly.

            • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-02-01 08:29:46

              Dear Greg,
              I appreciate your perspective, but mine differs when it comes to Watchtower's blood doctrine. This particular doctrinal position has led many a person to examine why the religion teaches things it does, only to find out many of its teachings are just as man-devised as a lot of other new religious movement.
              On the subject of medical intervention, I think you miss an important point. No one here that I know of advocates transfusion of blood as a medical elixir. The point is, I believe, that Watchtower's blood taboo wrongly impedes the Jehovah's Witness patient population from accepting certain products rendered from blood when a risk-to-benefit assessment suggests one or more of those products would help the patient's condition, and that this interference should cease because there is no basis for it as a biblical tenet of faith. As for the efficacy of hematological medicine using blood and products rendered from blood, much morbidity and mortality has been prevented using these than otherwise would have had occurred. I don't know from where you gather information, but medical science has led the way to the life expectancy we have today. When it comes to blood transfusion therapies in particular, use of the therapy should be done only when necessary to prevent life and health, which is the case with all medicinal interventions.
              The history of medical advancement unavoidably includes many mistakes which have led to otherwise preventable deaths. I don't see any way around this. Do you? If so, please do explain what that is. And, given your opinion, I have a question for you: If, for instance, we have an otherwise healthy child and that child is suddenly bleeding out from a traumatic laceration and facing multiple organ failures unless oxygen delivery can be immediately established, what precisely do you suggest other than transfusion of packed red cells, or even whole blood if necessary? Would you have physicians stand by and withhold probably the only therapy that would prevent that patient from dying?

    • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-28 19:55:31

      Have you read Part 1 on Blood?
      Your thoughts are strikingly similar to Clayton J Woodworth, the architect of the No Blood doctrine. He had a big issue with modern medicine and doctors and surgeons in general.
      So what's your beef with the medical profession? Are you a malpractice attorney, or do you work in the field?

      • Reply by Greg on 2016-01-29 00:58:46

        Never heard of Clayton Woodworth.
        What I'm saying, if you feel ( probably quite rightly as you have done all the research) that the Watchtower is doctrinally wrong, don't going looking for support for your view from opinions from the medical industry. That industry is no more righteous than religious, political or commercial entities.
        Its either doctrinally wrong or not.

        • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-29 05:26:46

          Greg, thanks for your reply.
          If you read Parts 1 and 2..... then Part 3 will make more sense to you. I'm slowly building a case.
          Also, at the end of this article (Part 3), you will note a link to the comprehensive work of Apollos (one of the principals involved in BP and DTT). There you will find much reasoning that tackles the doctrine doctrinally. This may be what you feel is lacking in my articles in Parts 1-3. This is by design my brother.
          First to avoid redundancy, and secondly, the historical narrative in the backdrop of WW2 provides a fresh way of looking at the big picture.
          I'm well aware that the medical profession has been all to eager to administer blood and that they are not all saints. Blood is a commercially profitable product, and that certainly would influence the occasions where they choose to administer it.

        • Reply by Anonymous on 2016-01-29 05:45:22

          Really? Maybe the preface to "The Finished Mystery" will refresh your memory?
          "It seemed pleasing to the Lord that Brothers C. J. Woodworth and George H. Fisher should prepare the Seventh Volume, under the direction of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY."
          I really would not waste your time reading it though. Getting the truth out of that book would be like trying to get blood out of a stone ;-)

  • Comment by Vox Ratio on 2016-01-28 20:30:15

    Hi Sopater,
    I've enjoyed this series of articles. You've clearly researched this subject well and have presented your information plainly and unpretentiously. Thank you.
    Without wanting to detract from your good work, I did want to point out an aspect of this particular essay that could potentially be misconstrued by your audience. Discussing the history of the blood doctrine and its early formation within the context of WWII might be counted by some as evidence against the soundness of the doctrine itself. However, arguing against a position by showing how people have come to hold it is to commit the genetic fallacy. Now, please don't get me wrong, this is not an opprobrium. I don't actually think that this is how you were arguing. At the same time, one can't know for sure how another may construe our words – and sadly I have seen people exult all too often in a doctrine’s refutation by merely appealing to the developmental history of it. Granted, it may be rhetorically effective, but it is impotent in demonstrating the truth or falsity of a position.
    Thanks for all your hard work, brother. I look forward to your next instalment(s).

    • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-28 20:57:47

      I appreciate your comment and observation regarding potential for this to be misconstrued as a genetic fallacy. It was good to point this out.
      That said, when it comes to Watchtower's underlying premise Sopater has emphasized (i.e., transfused blood is providing nutrition) there is nothing in the development of the blood policy we see today versus it's original form that supports that premise. That premise was known to be false long before 1944 and since then that finding has only been underscored with additional lab experiments and clinical observations all of which is documented.
      Honestly, I don't really see any argument coming from Sopater in this Part 3. Instead I see more of a meandering (a musing of sorts) through various historical points of interest related to the no blood doctrine. The meandering nature of this Part 3 is probably why the observation you shared dawned on you. At least that's my guess. It's well to think how readers could misunderstand (or, worse, misconstrue!) our presentation and edit it to avoid as much of this as possible.

    • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-28 22:11:28

      Thank you brother.
      I appreciate your observation.
      My purpose in devoting much time to the historical narrative is not to attempt to prove the doctrine unsound by this alone. I hope that the readers haven't viewed I was arguing as such. The WW2 backdrop and context was provided to allow the reader to get inside the minds of those who invented the doctrine. The average JW (and lurking JW) has absolutely no idea of where and how the teaching originated. Secular historical fact surrounding the birth of the doctrine will force the reader (lurking JW) to research outside the box. The historical narrative doesn't exist in WT publications. Research outside the box is exactly what they need to start doing.
      I believe the historical narrative lays an excellent foundation for seeing the big picture. The origin was flawed, and the teaching remains flawed to the present day, for the very same reasons. The premise was myth and remains myth. If the premise is myth, the teaching can't be biblical.
      And yes Marvin, I admit I am guilty of meandering :)
      Warm regards,

      • Reply by Vox Ratio on 2016-01-28 23:57:12

        Please don't stop meandering, Sopater. Unless, of course, your readership are just "out for blood". ;)

        • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-29 07:08:37

          Clever Vox :)

        • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-29 09:20:35

          I second that!!!

  • Comment by AR on 2016-01-29 00:11:03

    Thanks Sopater, I had no idea, that this is the rational behind our abstaining from blood! I appreciate you building this case slowly as a JW, my mind needs to read and re-read these articles. Its interesting to have it presented this way. A bit of an eye opener. Looking forward to your Final parts to this subject.

    • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-29 08:03:46

      Thank you AR.
      Your kind words express what I have hoped to accomplish. The first sentence of the article says:
      "The majority in the JW community surmise that the No Blood doctrine is a biblical teaching, yet few comprehend what holding this position requires."
      Just as is shown in your case, precious few are aware of the "rational" behind the teaching. I feel the majority in the JW community would be shocked to learn this. Then to attempt to rationalize this with the GB's new position allowing 100% of blood fractions.
      So, let me get this straight: The official position is that the GB remains concerned that blood is a "nutrient." therefore a transfusion is "eating" blood as food.
      The new position is, the GB has no concern about fractions ("ingredients" of blood containing the nutrients) which are intravenously injected in the bloodstream in precisely the same manner as plasma and red cells?
      Here's the dilemma: Acts 15:29 is deals with whole blood from an animal sacrificed in idol worship. It does not apply to fractionated blood, which the GB now readily acknowledges.
      I would love to ask the GB the following:
      Are RBC's WHOLE blood? Is Plasma WHOLE blood? Are platelets WHOLE blood? Are white cells WHOLE blood? The answer is a resounding NO. So then, if none of these are WHOLE blood, if only when they are combined they become blood, why are they individually forbidden? How are they any different that blood fractions, especially hemoglobin?
      How do they think the major components are separated? By fractionation. How are fractions separated? By fractionation. What is the difference? If it is WHOLE blood from an animal that is prohibited, any fractionated product is not of itself WHOLE blood. The apple pie analogy fits here.
      The official position of the GB has for 70 years been that we must abstain from apple pie. Recently they decided that the "ingredients" of apple pie are not actually apple pie. They now allow us to eat apples and flour, the two main ingredients of apple pie. Yet they don't allow us to accept RBC's and plasma, the two major ingredients of blood?
      It makes no sense.

      • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-29 11:06:11

        Hi Sopater,
        The question you'd love to ask Watchtower's leadership is one they've been asked. In year 2007 Watchtower went on record in a letter.
        A writer asked this question to Watchtower's leadership:
        -- “Will you please explain the basis for refusing blood fractions such as platelets and leukocytes when the Bible is just as silent about these as it is about hemoglobin and albumin from blood?”
        Watchtower's answer was this:
        -- “As to blood’s medical uses, a careful examination of what has been published by Jehovah’s Witnesses will reveal that our consistent position has been that whole blood or any of one of its four primary components—plasma, red cells, white cells, and platelets—should not be used. That is how unfractionated blood components settle out naturally. In its still unbroken-down state, each separated primary component, regardless of its respective percentage of whole blood, can still represent basically what blood as a whole symbolizes: the life of the creature.”
        This answer from Watchtower proves their distinction is without merit because the natural settling out they allege does not happen in nature. That is to say, when uncirculated fresh whole blood is left alone it does not "settle out naturally" into four components as plasma, red cells, white cells and platelets. Left alone uncirculated fresh whole blood does separate into distinguishable parts, but those parts are 1) a solid clot and 2) a clear liquid known as serum. That is the initial separation. After that the clear serum begins turning brown/red because the clot formation becomes more and more dense resulting in a purging of free hemoglobin from lysed red cells, which is the reason for the color change in the serum. But at no time in the "natural setting" does blood separate into the four constituents we know as plasma, red cells, white cells and platelets. To achieve this separation of four components requires a very, very carefully orchestrated ballet of chemical and mechanical manipulations which are wholly man-devised.
        This reasoning by Watchtower is very damaging to its blood doctrine. It demonstrates utter ignorance, if not intentional deception, and this bad information has been used as underpinning of a doctrine holding life-and-death consequences. This premise of how blood "naturally settles out" was not new in 2007. It is found in at least one additional letter to an elder written in 2006. This is an instance of a critical premise being totally false, yet the teaching persists regardless. It takes my breath away just thinking about this and the consequence to so many innocent children and unsuspecting adults.

  • Comment by irene evans on 2016-01-29 12:32:02

    the scriptures make it very clear that the life is in the blood, Jehovah said to me all the souls belong, our life with its blood belong to God, to take a life is murder, to take or give blood is stealing from Jehovah , where we are told to abstain from blood, does not mention eating blood, or using it as food, abstain means to avoid any connection with it in any form what so ever

    • Reply by Marvin Shilmer on 2016-01-29 13:24:20

      Hi Irene,
      If the Apostolic Decree to abstain from blood (Acts 15) is not stated within the context of some particular act or acts then I don't see how it would be possible for Christians of the era to abide by it. They wouldn't know WHAT abstention from blood was required. It would have been a practical impossibility for them to abstain from thinking of blood, touching blood, looking at blood, talking about blood, etc... Hence the statement "abstain from blood" had to be said with some act or acts in mind.
      Since Christ released Jewish Christians from bondage to the Mosaic Law and since non-Jewish Christians were never bound by Mosaic Law, and since we have a pre-Mosaic Law decree at Genesis 9 containing a provision of blood abstention, and since minutes of the then Governing Body (Acts 15) evidence their decree was a continuance of an existing requirement, then we have Genesis 9 as the context for what abstention is required. Essentially the decree of Acts 15 regarding blood is a reiteration of the earlier decree given to Noah in respect to blood. And, by the way, the Watchtower organization agrees and teaches that the decree of Acts 15 regarding blood is no more and no less than a reiteration of the statement made to Noah, and specifically that the decree of Acts 15 is not a furtherance of Mosaic Law or any piece of Mosaic Law.
      Genesis 9 mentions two acts in relation to blood, one of the literal substance of blood and the other an act in relation to a metaphorical usage of blood. Of the literal substance the abstention was of eating. Of the metaphoric the abstention was of unjustified killing (murder). Given this context the Apostolic Decree would have required Christians to abstain from eating blood and from murder. But in relation to the literal substance of blood the Genesis account does not address all blood from any source. Verse 4 of Chapter 9 is said of blood from slaughtering living animals in order to eat their flesh. Hence the account in Genesis 9 presents no prohibition against eating blood from, for instance, animals found dead of natural cause. This latter would explain a provision made later on by God in the Mosaic Law for Jews to give or sell unbled carcasses of animals found dead to non-Jewish descendants of Noah as food for them to eat. These non-Jewish descendants of Noah were not under Mosaic Law but they were under the decree of Genesis 9. Since Genesis 9 presents no prohibition against eating blood of animal carcasses dead of natural cause then God providing for this meat to be given or sold to them by Jews represents no conflict as though God were acting contrary to his own will.
      Looking carefully at what is and is not addressed is important for anyone who wants to make a conscientious decision about what God requires, and avoid presuming. As it turns out the Genesis 9 account makes no mention whatsoever of donor blood, and donor blood is what's used in transfusion therapy.

    • Reply by Anonymous on 2016-01-29 14:33:50

      Hi Irene,
      I highly recommend a careful reading of Marvin Shilmer's post. Take each point, read the appropriate scriptures, and mull it over. Not necessarily to be convinced of the argument but at least to understand it.
      Your active brother,

    • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-29 17:55:09

      I'm sorry my sister but you are mistaken. Please re-read the following:
      “Each time the prohibition of blood is mentioned in the Scriptures it is in connection with taking it as food, and so it is as a nutrient that we are concerned with its being forbidden.” (Watchtower 1958 p. 575)
      The prohibition to "abstain" from blood was about taking animal blood in as food.
      Leadership at that time believed that a transfusion provided nutrition. This is what they based the blood doctrine upon.
      To "abstain" means to not EAT blood. That is all it means.

  • Comment by father jack on 2016-01-29 16:58:47

    Interesting ray franz qoute we have followers leading followers .Jesus said something similar when he said the blind leading the blind .paul also said about those who mislead and are being misled .

  • Comment by father jack on 2016-01-30 12:19:38

    I read an interesting commentry by david guzik on acts 15 the other day he seems to think that the prohobition on blood and things strangled was imposed mainly as a concessions so as not to stumble many of the jews . This view actually makes alot of sense when we read 1 corinthians 8 and romans 14 .

    • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-31 10:12:27

      I agree it was a concession. Jewish Christians in the Antioch congregation were previously Pharisees, so they still held to many precepts in the law. Two things that really aggravated them were that the new Gentile converts were not circumcised, and they had awful dietary habits regarding meat (compared to the strict kosher laws of the Jewish brothers).
      The decision came down "not to burden" the Gentile converts with circumcision. But as if to appease the Jewish brothers in some way, they did address the nasty habits in Gentile culture involving eating bloody meat used in conjunction with idol worship. I share more on this in Part 5.
      Good point FJ.

      • Reply by father jack on 2016-01-31 11:16:43

        Oh so sorry mate . I was thinking after the comment that it may be your point . I should have waited . It was just a revelation to me i just had to blurt it out . Looking forward to your article though well done . Apologies FJ

        • Reply by sopaterofberoea on 2016-01-31 14:22:22

          No problem. I do wonder why someone voted my comment thumbs down.

          • Reply by father jack on 2016-01-31 18:30:23

            Oh sorry again . I must have touched the wrong one . O made the comment from a phone .

  • Comment by Jehovah's Witnesses and Blood - Part 2 - Beroean Pickets - Reviewer on 2020-09-28 22:22:04

    […] Part 3 of this series examines how it is that medical professionals could view their Jehovah’s Witness patients as a godsend. It is not because they view the doctrine as biblical nor that adherence to the doctrine brings God’s blessing. (Download this file: Jehovahs Witnesses – Blood & Vaccines, to view a visual chart prepared by a member in England. It documents the slippery slope JW leadership has been on in attempting to defend the No Blood doctrine over the years. It includes references to doctrinal interpretations regarding both transfusion and organ transplants.) […]

Recent content

Hello everyone. This is the second to last video in this series on shunning. Thank you for your patience as it has taken a while to get to this point. For those of you who haven’t seen the previous videos on shunning as…

Hello, everyone. I have something truly bizarre to share with you this time. It comes from a rather innocuous place, the July 2024 letter from the Governing Body to all the elders in North America and, I assume, around…

Statement by Brother Joss Goodall To My Brother and Sisters, I am writing to you to bring to your attention some very serious concerns that have been troubling me since August of last year when I listened to a morning worship video by Kenneth…

Jesus said that “the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him.” (John 4:23 BSB) Are you one of the people that God is seeking to worship Him? Maybe you’re thinking, “I…

In this video we will continue our analysis of the gaslighting methods used by the Governing Body to induce a hypnotic grip on the hearts and minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This time we’ll be covering a talk delivered by Gage Fleegle on called…

[This contributed letter does not necessarily reflect all the views of our community. We post it here as a service to those who seek to worship God "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:20-24)] AN OPEN LETTER TO THE GOVERNING BODY OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES…