JW.ORG FAQ – Why Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses Accept Blood Transfusions?

Quite honestly, this is a very touchy subject for me.  It is one thing to use intellectual dishonesty in an effort to deceive the public about their true beliefs.  It is a totally different matter when they use intellectual dishonesty to try covering up the fact that their rigid policies have and will take peoples’ lives…..including the lives of children!

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The first “myth” they answer is “Jehovah’s Witnesses Don’t Believe in Medicine or Medical Treatment”.  Only……their very first sentence isn’t true.  They most certainly do NOT seek the BEST possible medical care.  They seek the best possible medical care that does not involve the used of blood, white cells, red cells, platelets, or plasma.  These products are forbidden.  That’s a pretty big caveat.  Their final sentence in that paragraph hints at the danger of blood transfusions……saying there are “blood borne disease”, “immune system reaction” and “human errors” that need to be considered.  First and foremost……”human errors” can happen with any medical procedure regardless of whether blood is being used or not.  The intent of throwing “human error” into the mix is nothing more than a scare tactic to seemingly add creedence to their argument.  Secondly, are there “blood borne diseases” and “immune system reactions” sometimes?  Yes.  No medical treatment, and no person is perfect.  But usage of blood products in medicine over the past 60 years has been greatly fine tuned.  The odds of contracting a disease from a blood transfusion is extremely minute these days due to blood supply tracking and testing systems.  This is why the Jehovah’s Witnesses like to use the brochure of theirs entitled “How Can Blood Save Your Life” when discussing the dangers of transfusions.  You see, the data contained in that brochure has been manipulated, quotes have been taken out of context and statistics used that are outdated by DECADES.

The next two “myths” they answer appear to be generally accurate.  But then we get to this one:  “Many Witnesses, including children, die each year as a result of refusing blood transfusions”.  They answer this with a straight up LIE.  They claim that the statement is “totally unfounded”.  Really?

1994 Awake

What you see above is a magazine of theirs from May 22, 1994.  The title was “Youths Who Put God First”.  Do you know what it was regarding?  Here is a quote from page 2:  “In former times thousands of youths died for putting God first. They are still doing it, only today the drama is played out in hospitals and courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue.”  The magazine was dedicated to all the JW youths that have died from rejecting blood transfusions.  The inside of the magazine contains story after heartbreaking story of innocent children that died while defending a gravely flawed doctrine.  The magazine cover shows the faces of just some of the young ones that were sacrificed.  Knowing this……knowing that they actually mass produced a magazine that BRAGGED about the number of children that have died from their policy on blood…..how can they write on their website that “it is totally unfounded” that Jehovah’s Witnesses die each year from refusing blood transfusions?  It is a blatant LIE proven by their very own publication! 

Their next argument is that both the old and new testaments of the bible command humans to abstain from blood.  Only……they are wrong.  The first three scriptures they list is in regard to EATING blood, not sustaining life through a transfusion.  And the final scripture they list is taken completely out of context.  If the JWs would actually read the surrounding chapters instead of cherry picking individual scripture to fit their already contrived argument, they would see that the advice at Acts the 15th chapter was also in regard to eating blood.  At that time, there was a mixing of Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.  The Jewish Christians were having trouble letting go of some of the requirements of old Jewish law code.  They were essentially much more conservative than the Gentile Christians.  The Gentile Christians, on the other hand were still known for their liberal practices…..some of which included the eating of blood.  So the admonition that was being given was for the Gentile Christians to stop EATING blood because it was stumbling the conservative….Jewish Christians.  But the fact of the matter is that there is no admonition to reject a life saving blood transfusion…..mainly….because blood transfusions didn’t exist yet!  The bible can’t give current admonition against something that wouldn’t exist for nearly 2,000 years!

They say that rejecting blood transfusions is out of obedience to God…..but again….I will ask…..where in the bible is an admonition given against anything other than the EATING of blood?  That was the only way blood could be taken into the body back then.  Their next argument is what is so perplexing to me.  They argue that they reject transfusions out of respect for God since he is the giver of life.  Do you see the irony in such a statement?  They like to say that biblically speaking, blood represents life.  In other words, blood is SYMBOLIC of life.  What I don’t understand then, is…..when did the symbol of life (blood) become of greater value to their God than the reality that it actually symbolizes?  There are cases when an actual blood transfusion is the the only option between life and death (an example would be that of a hemorrhage situation – when VOLUME is needed).  To allow a person to die in that situation is a gross contradiction of misplaced values. 

Under “Changing Viewpoints” they bring up that the medical community as a whole has begun to accept bloodless medicine as not only an alternative, but due to advancements made…..in some cases, a preferred method.  There is no argument against this…..from me or anyone else that is critical of their stand on the issue of blood.  Nobody is saying that the advancement of bloodless medicine isn’t a good thing.  It is.  The problem is when they dogmatically interpret scripture to the point that when bloodless medicine won’t work……or isn’t the recommended procedural route to take…….their followers must choose between faith in their doctrine…..and death.  Where is the Christ-like love in forcing such a decision?  What bothers me about their argument is that they trump up the fact that their doctrine is a leading reason that the trail to bloodless medicine has been blazed.  Yes.  This is true.  But at what price?  They have little to no regard for the thousands of lives that have been lost due to rejecting blood transfusions over the years. 

Of further interest is that JWs may not accept red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets or plasma either.  Their argument on this is that these are the 4 “primary components” that blood naturally settles into.  Only……that isn’t true either.  Naturally, blood settles into clot and serum.  The only way it “settles” into the 4 parts just mentioned is when it is run through a centrifuge.  I would hardly call that “natural”.  Even more bizarre is that “fractions” of those “primary components” of blood MAY be accepted as treatment by a Jehovah’s Witness.  Things like albumin, hemoglobin, EPO, immunoglobulins etc etc are considered by leadership to be acceptable “fractions”.  Want to know why?  Because they argue that the bible doesn’t comment on “fractions”.  But…..the bible doesn’t comment on red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma either.  So why are they banned?  To the ancient bible writers……blood was blood.  They were unaware of current definitions……how blood “settles”……and what components it is made from.  Yet somehow the ruling faction of JWs feel comfortable nitpicking between “components” and “fractions”……allowing some while disallowing others…..and all the while…..peoples’ lives actually hang in the balance?  How presumptuous!  Even more shocking is the fact that all of the “fractions” that make up plasma (water, albumin, immunoglobulins, clotting factors, hormones, sugars etc) are acceptable to a Jehovah’s Witness so long as they are accepted individually.  Yet plasma itself?  Unacceptable.  Please explain the logic in that decision.?.?  That is like saying that you can eat ham, cheese and bread……..but you may not eat them together as a ham and cheese sandwich. 

Finally, what needs to be considered is the ever-changing directives of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Did you know that for quite a while, vaccinations were prohibited as were organ transplants? 

 Vaccination is a direct violation of the everlasting covenant that God made with Noah after the flood.” – Golden Age February 4, 1931 p293

“Sustaining one’s life by means of the body or part of the body of another human … would be cannibalism, a practice abhorrent to all civilized people. … It is not our place to decide whether such operations are advisable from a scientific or medical standpoint… Christians who have been enlightened by God’s Word do not need to make these decisions based simply on the basis of personal whim or emotion. They can consider the divine principles and use these in making personal decisions as they look to God for direction, trusting him and putting their confidence in the future that he has in store for those who love him” – Watchtower November 15, 1967 p702-704

To their credit (if you can call it that) the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses eventually realized they were wrong and reversed course in regard to vaccinations and organ transplants.  But, until they did, how many individual JWs suffered and/or died due to strict adherence to wreckless doctrine?  I ask the same question in regard to their stance on blood transfusions today. 

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