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Blood Transfusions -
Will You Die for a Lie?



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Over the years, it’s been fascinating to examine the Watchtower’s changing teachings on blood transfusions. In the book, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, it says that, "abstaining from blood means not taking it into your body at all" (p.216). But this statement is much different from current Watchtower criteria. Although, at one time, the Watchtower used to prohibit the transfusion of every blood component, they have gradually permitted virtually all of them; First globulin, then the clotting factors, plasma proteins and finally hemoglobin in June of 2000.*  

As you may know, the Watchtower Society still insists that Jehovah’s Witnesses “abstain from blood” and, nevertheless, still prohibit whole blood and 4 primary blood components, namely, red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. But here is the key: they allow everything inside of these 4 primary components to be used. According to The Watchtower, June 15, 2000, “Questions From Readers”, essentially every component or fraction derived from whole blood and its "primary components" are allowed in medical treatment.  

So, technically, the Watchtower permits 100% of the blood in fractionated form. Here is an analogy: It's like saying, "see that truck over there, it's stolen and you can't buy it. But if someone dismantles it, it's not a truck anymore, it's truck parts and you can buy what you want. However, the engine, the transmission, the radio and the disc brakes are special. They are the 'primary' components of the truck (i.e. the red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma). You can't have these 'primary' components unless you first completely dismantle them. If you do that you can buy them too."*  

Even more recently, the Watchtower has notified their overseers worldwide that there will be no more disfellowshipping of Jehovah's Witnesses who conscientiously accept a blood transfusion. Leaders have now decided that a Witness who accepts forbidden blood therapy in medical treatment will automatically be regarded as having disassociated themselves. This procedural change is expected to place the Watchtower Society and their congregation leaders in less danger for potential lawsuits.  

Considering the changing and more lenient standards of the Watchtower’s blood policy, one must wonder if the Society is gradually preparing for “new light” when the strict ban on blood transfusions will be done away with, making the procedure the conscientious decision of individual Witnesses.

This would be nothing new. For example, throughout the 30s and 40s, the Watchtower denounced vaccinations as a procedure that was medically harmful and morally wrong. The organization even stated that, “Vaccination is a direct violation of the everlasting covenant that God made with Noah after the flood” (The Golden Age, Feb. 4, 1931).  However, the ban was dropped in the early 50s, and, today, the Society even recommends the procedure. In a similar vein, between 1967 and 1980, the Watchtower taught Jehovah’s Witnesses to refuse organ transplants, calling the procedure cannibalistic (The Watchtower, Nov. 15, 1967, p.702). For 13 years, loyal Witnesses chose blindness rather than a cornea transplant and to die rather than submit to a kidney transplant. In 1980, the Watchtower Society made transplants an optional “matter for personal decision”, and later even applauded the procedure as one that has helped people. 

Considering the organization’s track record on vaccinations and organ transplants, should a Jehovah’s Witness stake his life, or his child’s, on the reliability of the leaders' interpretations prohibiting blood transfusions? Or, is the Society’s blood policy just another man-made medical doctrine destined for failure and reinterpretation? We hope that all Jehovah’s Witnesses will consider the facts before making an irreversible and life-threatening decision based on someone else’s imposed and unreliable standard.

 * Taken from New Light on Blood

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