Coercion or Personal Choice?: The Reality of the Jehovah’s Witness Stance on Blood
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A Jehovah's Witness mother leaves behind nine children after refusing blood

The recent tragic deaths of two Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada, Eloise Dupuis and Mirlande Cadet, have focused media and political attention on the issue of coercion in refusing medical treatment. Specifically the question being asked by the media and Government and investigated by the coroner is: Did these women make their choice to refuse a blood transfusion of their own free will, or was there an element of coercion from their religious community leaders?

For example, does the very presence of the Jehovah’s Witness Hospital Liaison Committee generate a coercive atmosphere for a Witness in such a situation? Do Witnesses personally sign the Watchtower-produced Advanced Medical Directive that Watchtower requires them to carry on their persons at all times, stating they desire to refuse blood? Are they free of coercion when they do so?

Editors note: For informational purposes, the Hospital Liaison Committee (HLC) normally interact with doctors and Witness patients only when there is a medical condition which may require a blood transfusion. A separate group, called the Patient Visitation Group (PVG) does not interfere with medical treatment of Witnesses, but usually consists of Witness elders who offer pastoral support and prayer.

I want to state at the outset that I support the right of a mature adult to make an informed decision, free of coercion, to refuse any and all medical treatment, even if doing so represents a threat to their life. However, the key words here are informed and free of coercion. 

In this article I intend to demonstrate that it is simply not possible to state that any Jehovah’s Witness is free from coercion when they make these choices. Additionally, I will demonstrate that, even if a Witness genuinely desires to reject blood and is prepared to die as a result, it is highly unlikely that their decision is genuinely informed; rather it is highly dependent on misleading information and a social atmosphere that stifles any genuine attempt to gather unbiased medical or scriptural data on the subject.

There are three areas to consider:

  1. Jehovah’s Witness culture
  2. Jehovah’s Witness policy of shunning
  3. How these two factors produce a coerced medical choice

1: Jehovah’s Witness culture: Information lockdown

0114_blindfold-800x480Jehovah’s Witnesses live in a religious culture which is very different from what many in the modern Western world might be used to. It is strongly frowned upon for them to make close friends or associates with those outside of the faith. Such ones are viewed as “worldly” and “tools of Satan.” This culture of suspicion extends to the authorities and experts outside of the religion as well.

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, after in-depth study of Watchtower literature and culture in Case Study 29 concluded:

F1: The Jehovah’s Witness organisation presents its members with conflicting and ambiguous teachings regarding their relationship with secular authorities, thereby fostering a distrust of such authorities.

The reality is that for a Jehovah’s Witness, any government, institute of learning, NGO, charity, any person or group at all that is not under the direct control of the Watchtower Organization is viewed as being less reliable and trustworthy than Watchtower. If there is a conflict between the teachings and statements of Watchtower, and the teachings or statements of a medical institute, government or court system, a witness is expected to accept Watchtower’s side of matters unquestioningly. This includes any conflict about various medical or scriptural issues.

Therefore, whilst Jehovah’s Witnesses might appear on the surface to be normal members of society, the reality is that they live in a very socially and intellectually insular world. They are strongly discouraged from attending higher education, and any research into matters of faith and religion outside of the publications of Watchtower is strongly discouraged, and can even result in punishment. Intellectual curiosity or critical evaluation of an argument from both sides is not something Watchtower encourages.

Thus, when making their choice as to whether to refuse a blood transfusion or not, it is highly unlikely that a Jehovah’s Witness will have access to unbiased or accurate medical information. Most of their information will come from Watchtower, and the information Watchtower provides on medical treatments using blood is highly suspect to say the least.

Consider a small sample of statements that Watchtower has made on the subject throughout the decades, and decide for yourself if they represent an accurate, unbiased reflection of scientific knowledge and medical practice. Also try to imagine what decades of constant exposure to such statements from a source one views as the mouthpiece of God would to do your opinion.

“The blood in any person is in reality the person himself. … poisons due to personal living, eating and drinking habits … The poisons that produce the impulse to commit suicide, murder, or steal are in the blood. Moral insanity, sexual perversions, repression, inferiority complexes, petty crimes – these often follow in the wake of blood transfusion.”   – Watchtower 1961 Sep 1 p.564

“Selling blood is big business. Well, what makes many people uneasy about big business in general? It is greed. The greed shows, for example, when big business persuades people to purchase things they don’t really need; or worse, when it continues to foist on the public some products known to be dangerous, or when it refuses to spend money to make its products safer. If the blood business is tainted with that kind of greed, the lives of millions of people the world over are in great danger.”  – Awake 1990 Oct 22 p.7

You can find a very detailed analysis of this matter on JWfacts.com, along with a detailed scriptural discussion showing that the Witnesses’ stance on blood is arguably not even truly scriptural, but rather comes from a profound misunderstanding of the relevant scriptures on the part of earlier Watchtower leaders.

However, the main point here is that such a discussion cannot happen in Witness culture. Any Witness who openly admitted that they had visited JWfacts.com, or consulted other Biblical scholars outside Watchtower to get their view on blood transfusions would find themselves subject to extreme social stigma, and even worse.

They could find themselves completely shunned; their family and friends forbidden to even make eye contact on the street.

2: Jehovah’s Witness Enforcement: Obey or be shunned

the_announcementJehovah’s Witnesses are not free to find their own path in life. In more or less every aspect of their existence, from the smallest matter such as the choice to have facial hair, right through to matters of life and death, Jehovah’s Witnesses are required to follow a vast tapestry of rules and regulations imposed from the top down by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

And compliance is ruthlessly enforced.

Watchtower has a long list of what it considers to be “serious sins.” This list includes everything from sex outside of marriage, to voting in an election, to celebrating a birthday, to openly and unrepentantly disagreeing with Watchtower teachings –  and much more.

And yes, accepting a blood transfusion is on that list.

If someone is thought to have committed a serious sin, a religious court known as a “Judicial Committee” is formed. Consisting of three elders (the JW term for religious congregation leaders), the committee is essentially a closed-off “star chamber” style affair, where the accused has no form of representation and very little in the way of rights or assistance that we have come to expect from a modern judicial system. To cut a long story short, the accused basically has to throw themselves on the mercy of the three elders and beg for forgiveness, hoping that they can convince the committee that they are genuinely repentant for their sinful act. This is by no means a certain thing. Judicial Committees are notoriously fickle; if the elders are on the kinder or more moderate end of the scale, you may escape with a reproof. However, if the elders are strict, authoritarian, or simply don’t like you, you can find yourself disfellowshipped.

Disfellowshipping is the JW term for being excommunicated. That means that no Jehovah’s Witness is allowed to even speak to you.* And since JWs are forbidden from making close friends outside of the faith or marrying outside of the faith, it means you lose everyone you know and love.

The goal of this shunning is obvious; to inflict so much emotional trauma on the dissenting person that they fall back into line in order to regain their loved ones. (And according to Watchtower, their relationship with God). Watchtower has explicitly acknowledged this is the case, albeit whilst attempting to paint it in the most glowing terms possible, as per the following extract from one Watchtower publication:

Consider just one example of the good that can come when a family loyally upholds Jehovah’s decree not to associate with disfellowshipped relatives. A young man had been disfellowshipped for over ten years, during which time his father, mother, and four brothers “quit mixing in company” with him. At times, he tried to involve himself in their activities, but to their credit, each member of the family was steadfast in not having any contact with him. After he was reinstated, he said that he always missed the association with his family, especially at night when he was alone. But, he admitted, had the family associated with him even a little, that small dose would have satisfied him. However, because he did not receive even the slightest communication from any of his family, the burning desire to be with them became one motivating factor in his restoring his relationship with Jehovah.”  – Watchtower 2012 Apr 15 p.12

Such punishment also prevents obedient Witnesses from hearing viewpoints or facts that may conflict with Watchtower’s teachings. Please see this jwfacts.com article for further information about this practice, as well as a discussion of the way Watchtower frequently lies to the media and the courts as to it’s existence. You can find further such articles on this site as well

From 1961 until recently, taking blood was officially a disfellowshipping offense. However, Watchtower has intentionally altered its official title for the offense. It no longer gets you disfellowshipped. It now renders you as “Disassociated“. What’s the difference? Well, Disfellowshipping is when you are thrown out; Disassociating carries the implication that you have made a choice to leave the organization.  However, the punishments are exactly the same. In addition, the elders can deem you “disassociated” without your consent, thus rendering any supposed difference meaningless in real terms.

This is how the Elders Handbook Shepherd the Flock of God, the field manual for Elders to use in regulating their congregations, discusses blood transfusions:

  • Willingly and unrepentantly taking blood. If someone willingly takes blood, perhaps because of being under extreme pressure, the committee should obtain the facts and determine the individual’s attitude. If he is repentant, the committee would provide spiritual assistance in the spirit of Galatians 6:1 and Jude 22, 23. Since he is spiritually weak, he would not qualify for special privileges for a period of time, and it may be necessary to remove certain basic privileges. Depending on the circumstances, the committee may also need to arrange for an announcement to the congregation: “The elders have handled a matter having to do with [name of person]. You will be glad to know that spiritual shepherds are endeavoring to render assistance.” On the other hand, if the elders on the committee determine that he is unrepentant, they should announce his disassociation.
Now, it sounds as if all you have to do is say you are sorry and you’re home free, right? Wrong. For one thing, Elders are instructed not to forgive anyone they suspect as showing “worldly sadness” (i.e sorry for getting caught) as opposed to genuine repentance. So you’re going to have to convince them you are sad to have taken blood and lived, and that you’d rather have died, and you’d better be convincing. Also, elders are notoriously fickle; many former and current Witnesses relate horror stories of unaccountable, unkind, super-strict elders making the lives of their congregants a misery. Additionally, elders are instructed to take previous violations into account, so if you require more than one transfusion to live, or have a condition that requires regular transfusions, you will only get to play the repentance card once. It is entirely possible that you could be a weeping wreck, begging forgiveness and swearing that you’d rather have died on the operating table, and find yourself disassociated regardless.
Witnesses live their lives in a cloistered intellectual environment, forbidden from searching out alternative views when it comes to the issue of blood transfusions, and knowing full well that they live under the threat of total shunning, should they transgress upon any of Watchtower’s “red lines.”

Now, how does this impact what takes place when a Witness is taken into a hospital and is faced with the choice of obeying Watchtower and refusing blood, or accepting medical advice that a transfusion is essential to save their life?

3: Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood: A choice that is no choice.

bloodFirstly there is the question as to whether a witnesses voluntarily signs their medical documentation, and whether they fully understand the implications and the true facts surrounding the treatments they are rejecting.

To this, I say: No.

I have no doubt that they put pen to paper themselves. But as we have seen, none will have made these choices in an environment where all the facts were available, or where unbiased inquiry was encouraged. Rather, they will have been presented all their lives with highly questionable, distorted versions of the medical data, in a social environment that strongly discouraged any dissent, then placed them under extreme social pressure to sign the Watchtower’s Advanced Medical Directive. (Editors Note: The name for the directive and the legal contents does vary from country to country. We are using the name Advanced Medical Directive in a general sense). Whilst refusing to sign the directives will not in itself trigger a Judicial Committee, it will certainly result in lower level ostracizing. The JW will be viewed as a bad influence; weak in the faith. Social invites will fall away, potential marriage mates will be warned off by the elders, and those same elders will be watching like hawks for the moment the “weak” one makes a critical error, and can be officially sanctioned.

Additionally, a copy of their medical directives will be kept by the congregation Secretary (an elder responsible for all congregation documents) thus limiting the options of a JW to pretend they’ve signed the documents but deliver slightly modified or completely different instructions to their doctor. Again, a JW cannot opt out of giving the Secretary the documents without drawing attention and scrutiny from the enforcement-minded Body of Elders.

Next there is the question as to whether the presence of the elders of the Hospital Liaison Committee at the hospital bedside of a Jehovah’s Witness represents a coercive element.

To this, I say: Yes. A significant one.

According to Watchtower, the presence of these Elders serves to “support” the Witness in their decision to refuse blood. What Watchtower does not like to address, but what we have discussed in this article, is that if the Witness changes their mind and decides to accept blood, the elders standing by their bedside will not “support” this choice. They will rather draw up preparations to assemble a committee, with a view to disassociating that Witness. Such Witnesses lie there, potentially in horrible pain and distress, facing death on the one hand if they refuse blood, but a life without their family and friends if they accept. They cannot even arrange to have a transfusion in secret, as the HLC’s continual presence in the hospital renders discovery extremely likely.

Thus, we can say that at best these Witnesses are making a choice that is significantly uninformed and results from a lifetime of undue influence and information control by the religion governing every aspect of their lives. At worst, these Witnesses are making a reluctant choice to risk death via refusal of treatment rather than risk a life without the ones they love, under the watchful eyes of religious enforcers standing next to their bedside- ready to enact religiously mandated shunning if the Witness makes the “wrong” choice.

If Watchtower truly wishes to allow Witnesses to make a free choice, without coercion in this matter, it will remove the punishment sanctions from the act of taking blood, and allow Witnesses the freedom to do their own research and make their own choices in this matter. Until such time, once cannot seriously claim that Witnesses refusing a blood transfusion are doing so in an informed matter, with genuine consent

It is my hope that the legal entities, government groups, and media organizations investigating this matter come to understand these facts as soon as possible. Human life is at stake.

 

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*As of the time of writing, 1st November 2016, it was permissible for a disfellowshipped family member to be contacted to deal with significant family events; i.e a family death. It was also permissible for a disfellowshipped minor child to remain in the family home, albeit with restrictions as to anything viewed as religious participation. However, the 2016 Watchtower Convention made it clear that once such a child is old enough to survive on their own, JW parents are expected to throw their child out. Please see this article for further details, including a discussion of what happens when disfellowshipping of a parent or spouse occurs.

 

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119 Responses to Coercion or Personal Choice?: The Reality of the Jehovah’s Witness Stance on Blood

  1. Da' says:

    two comments:
    1. regarding the blood decision – if it wasn’t an enforcement, an announcement would be made that these directive cards are available. But that’s not the case. Each witness is given one and expected to have it signed.

    2. regarding disfellowshiping and reinstatement theory as described in the wt 2012 experience related. Ive been reinstated just about a year and the one family member who refused to have any dealings with me while df, still is cold and aloof. While those who did have limited association , relationship is better than ever.

  2. Caroline says:

    Yesterday I had a conversation with a lady who owns a small store in my town and was explaining to her about the jw religion and shunning and blood.

    I am going to encourage her to read this article and to pass it on to her friends and relatives so people in the “world” can understand how horrible it is for Witnesses to have to sign those cards and carry them in their wallets and purses.

    That little card in my wallet was something that I hated to have in my wallet and I think probably every Witness feels the very same way but are too afraid to voice their opinion.

    This is one of the very best articles that I have ever seen on how to explain the blood transfusion issue that every Jehovah’s Witness lives with every day of their life.

    Thank you so much for all your hard work in putting it together!!!

  3. James Broughton says:

    Such a superb article. Although it may be difficult to share with JWs themselves, to have this information is vital to those of us who may be influenced by them in the future.

  4. Merrill says:

    I just wanted to make a slight correction to your article. In cases where disassociation is at stake it is not a Judicial Committee that is formed but a committee. JCs are only formed in cases where the punishment is disfellowshipping. (cf ks-10 p. 110)

    • Covert Fade says:

      Hi Merrill.
      Thanks for your feedback.
      A number of people have made this observation to support your point, whilst others have confirmed that their disassociation was handled by something the elders did refer to as a Judicial Committee. I’m doing some further research into this.

      In the meantime, for the sake of avoiding unnecessary confusion I’ve removed the word “judicial” from the instances where the article is specifically discussing a gathering of elders intending to disassociate a Witness for taking blood. The word remains where the article is discussing JW religious courts in a general sense.

  5. Ronald S. Ouellette says:

    I am a current JW and can relate to this article. I have a couple of close friends who are JW and former elders and I pose questions in a manner for learning vs confrontation. I asked why we are allowed blood fractions but not whole blood? I know the answer as it is clearly printed in our magazines but I sometimes play dumb and point a logical reason. The article mentions how science shows that fractions of blood are not considered whole blood, etc … but then I ask ‘but it all comes from blood to begin with’. It’s almost like Eve saying I technically didn’t eat the fruit I nibbled at the skin or made a smoothie out if and drank it. The point being the fruit shouldn’t have been eaten in any shape or form. That would mean no part of blood should be used, period. I personally ripped up my card and explained to my wife (we weren’t born into the truth but came in afterwards – so she sticks by me) that in the case something should happen I would take blood as the last alternative as God sees life as precious. I would deal with the aftermath and if disfellowshipped I could come back if so desired. It would be cruel to have my wife lose her best friend and fend for herself in life. God is a loving God and forgives those who are repentant. Some put too many rules and those at the top speak too opinion which then causes rank-n-file to use opinion and then everyone knows best and can tell you how to live life and push their opinions. Many of my friends and family don’t agree with many things but just shut their mouths and don’t say anything.

    On another topic, since the Shepherd the Flock book was brought up in this article, I am going to probe to see why such a book isn’t available to all for reading as so secrets should be kept.

    So many nice and loving JW and some who are dictators who use one scripture to persecute you and the same scripture to defend themselves.

    More to follow as I have some great stories.

    • fadingtruth says:

      I am a brother too. Think about this: Blood is to be poured when the sacrificed animal dies. In transfusion the donor does not die. No life is lost and has to symbolically go back to Jehovah. So, why the prohibition?

      I wrote this to the GB, I got back blah blah blah blah

    • messenger says:

      You are correct, just as I am not given the right by God to kill a part of you, let’s say to shoot off your big toe, while at the same time I would be sinning if I killed all of you. Both actions are forbidden in the mosaic law and in the law of the Christ. Also, according to the WT blood symbolizes life that is provided by God; that being so, does God value the symbol of life more than he values actual life? The WT does not reason that way when rationalizing why it was ok for David to eat the showbread (shewbread).

      • Tara says:

        ‘Does God value the symbol of life more than he values actual life?’ Wow! that is brilliant! I am going to write that down for future reference!

  6. Elijah says:

    Much appreciation for this article. I remember all those parts we had regarding blood transfusions and how they were so unsafe and you’d be better off dead. Makes me sick that people just go along with it and can’t make an informed choice on their own. I’m still technically “in” but I haven’t had a blood card on me in years.

  7. Tara says:

    I remember so vividly the meeting nights when those cards were handed out. The talk prior to, the fear it instilled into you about blood transfusions…. when the meeting ended everyone would grab the person(s) they wanted as witnesses on their card and sit there and say ‘are you watching? ok, look, I’m going to sign now? are you watching?’ The night was charged with the fear of not having that damn piece of cardboard. Then it was folded and put into your wallet or purse so it could be seen. Usually through the clear plastic holder meant for your driving license. I also remember a larger document that had to be done in triplicate or more. One for you, one for the elders file and one each to those who signed. You were also advised to keep one in the glove compartment of the car, one for your Dr. One in the family documents and one for the lawyer….. yeesh. Oh the freedom on tearing up and burning that thing. I thank…… someone….. that my son was df’d and when his little baby girl was born at 1lb 4oz and needed blood and a heart op, the dr’s were able to save her precious life. She is now over 9lb, teething and rolling over. I shudder to think if he had still been ‘in’ she would not be here.

  8. I always felt coerced when these cards during a meeting & you had to be seen to be filling it in then seeking an elder to sign it afterwards.
    When my daughter was facing prospect of surgery many years ago, there is nothing I wouldn’t have done to ensure her recovery – blood included.

  9. Twmack says:

    Horror stories regarding personality changes from donated
    blood are definitely coercive. It’s not enough that god will
    kill you for having a transfusion, in the meantime waiting
    for Armageddon you could become schizophrenic, or a
    psychopathic killer. Or you could die straight away from a
    bad reaction, a bad blood match.

    It’s all alarmist, one sided. There must be millions of donors
    with rational minds, who are kind, compassionate,
    intelligent, etc, ( maybe even some rocket scientists) but
    of course they are never mentioned, neither are the untold
    numbers who are alive because of blood transfusions.

    If everyone followed the WT,s pontifications on medicine
    the world would still be in the grip of one of the most
    devastating plagues known to man, Smallpox.—

    Thinking people would rather have smallpox than vaccination, because the latter sows the seed of syphilis,
    cancers, escema, erysipelas, scrofula, consumption, even leprosy and many other loathsome affections. Hence the practice of vaccination is a crime, an outrage and a delusion. GA May, 1st 1929 p, 502.

    • outandabout says:

      I would like to see a thorough examination and dismantling of the exaggerations in the Blood book. To the unwary, it is quite convincing but in reality it runs along the lines of; “I once knew a guy who was killed by an airbag, so airbags are dangerous and should be avoided at all costs”.

      To me, exposing this book is part and parcel of blowing this blood issue wide open.

  10. Ernest Garcia says:

    I have been baptized as a Witness for over 40 years and I have never been force to do anything that may be contrary to my beliefs.
    Yes, I was did-fellowship for my wrong biblical actions. However, I was reinstated after many years. And I can only say “I rather live a life that apply biblical learning than those that act contrary to the biblical laws.”
    Regarding the blood issue; what is the statically results of transfusions in comparison to those of us that have rejected their usage.
    As a formal did-fellowship person, I took the stand to avoid a transfusion, under the medical threat that I may die.
    My decision to refuse the transfusion was and it still is my clear understanding base in bible principals to abstain from blood.
    No organization (JW) put me in any thread or fear of what action I was to take. And I thanked those doctors that obey my request.
    I am now in my 70’s and I thank my God whose name is Jehovah for putting an organization that is helping those who have not heard of his name and proclaiming it worldwide.

    • John Redwood says:

      Ernest

      We respect your right as an adult to make the decisions you have made regarding your medical treatment. However, what you need to understand is that coercion is not voluntary. That is the whole point of the article. Young persons who are indoctrinated from infancy and childhood, like Eloise Dupuis, are not truly rendering an informed decision as an adult, as their childhood religious teachings have carried over into adult life.

      You must stick with the issues here. We do not object to non-blood alternative treatments, but we do object to teaching children that when life is on the line, a blood transfusion must be rejected, or God will reject the recipient. This is not the will of the patient – this is the will of a religious organization which has taught that it is the only source of correct information about life, God, and the future of humanity.

      Do not forget that this is the interpretation of men, not of God. Even a recent Watchtower admitted the mistakes and infallibility of the Governing Body. Well let me remind you, this decision rendered in 1945, when you were a very young man, is not only fallible, but it is the opposite of what any God of love would ever teach.

      If you choose to disregard your own life as an adult – this is your decision. If you influence a young person to disregard their life due to this transfusion policy, you may well be guilty of murder. I hope that you are not such a person.

      JR

    • Victor says:

      “My decision to refuse the transfusion was and it still is MY CLEAR UNDERSTANDING base in bible principals to abstain from blood.”

      Can you explain me, in your clear, independent biblical understanding, why you refuse blood transfusions but accept fractions of blood (that come from whole blood donated by non-JW)?

      • Wideawake says:

        You can have jam or butter or bread…but you can’t have a jam sandwich…how does that make sense?

    • John Marketis says:

      Ernest,

      I find it interesting that you state, “…I have never been force(d) to do anything that may be contrary to my beliefs.” This is, I believe, the true nub of your comment.

      Knowledge & belief can co-exist but they are NOT interchangeable…they are NOT the same thing.

      I think the article went to some lengths to make this distinction…

  11. Susan Gaskin says:

    Excellent article – thank you so much for taking the time and research to put this together! I didn’t know that the elders kept copies of the congregation members’ signed medical directives! No doubt this was presented as a means of “protecting” the members, when clearly it’s to legally protect the organization.

  12. It’s definitely coercion. When I was around (80s – 2010 or so), there were many so-called alternatives. You had to ask the elders to get involved if you wanted reinforcement at the hospital. Otherwise, you were on your own legally. However, if you don’t disclose that you’re going into hospital, you won’t have a problem. My guess is that something has changed and people get the elders involved immediately. Maybe there is a new policy that you let the elders know your medical situation if you might need surgery or intensive medical intervention.

    • Chiafade says:

      Actually yes, most JWs will tell the elders that they’re going to have a procedure done. Even if it’s a minor one. If for some reason they didn’t tell the elders the medical directive card has that covered. The jw gives power of attorney to another jw when they go to the hospital. The card has the name and address of the power of attorney and the alternate. I’m sure you already know this but generally the witnesses give power of attorney to an elder in the congregation.

      When the JWs go to the hospital they are required to tell their chosen representative in case something goes wrong. That representative will then tell the elders. If for some reason the jw doesn’t tell anyone that they were going to the hospital for an operation he or she will be subject to strong counsel. The elders may even decide to give a local needs talk on the matter. Which will embarrass and shame the jw and frighten the others into complying. Speaking from 12 years experience as an elder.

      The organization has made it very difficult to make your own choice without being discovered. Demonstrating the high control nature of the group.

      • Peggy says:

        Melissa and Chiafade,
        I have not been to meetings in 3 years or more. I took the Blood card out long before that. I had several major surgeries. I never told any elders. After recovery an elder mentioned how no one knew I was going to surgery. Yes, sorry. Just didn’t think it was to concern you. This is now a requirement??
        What crap! I still would not tell them. Give a local needs talk. That is some high control there.

  13. This is a really great article for detailing the difference between freely choosing and coercion.

    Meanwhile, Jehovah, whom they claim created all the animals — including some that MUST drink blood to survive — must be rolling his eyes and shaking his head in utter disbelief and disgust.

    http://smmcroberts.net/blog/how-a-leech-sucked-the-lifeblood-out-of-the-watchtower/

  14. Openmind says:

    Thanks so much for a brilliant article.
    My parents each gave over 60 years and a LOT of money to this cult – I got out years ago. After my father died my mother lived for a few more years and had developed dementia. I was informed by an elder that she was no longer welcome at meetings because she was ‘disruptive’. Oh how I wished I knew what she had said and done! Shortly before her death she was hospitalised for a few days for surgery and along came an elder to remind her that she had signed documents not to take blood. What was their reasoning I wonder when they no longer welcomed her. I was furious and still am at that pompous elder with his air of superiority when in fact he
    was quite ignorant about everything except what watchtower says.

    • Big B says:

      @ Openmind:

      Your story of your parents is very similar to mine. The difference being that none of her spiritual shepherds came by to call on her (visit) as she spiraled deeper into dementia which finally took her life.

      My dad, the presiding overseer, died of heart failure while leading the congregational book study 14 years earlier.

      My mother was not visited later on because, I believe, she was a living reminder of the failure of Watchtower prophecies, and doomsday doctrines. In other words, she was the living embodiment and reality of what was going to eventually befall these shepherds. The same occurrence happened to my uncle who also served as a presiding overseer in his congregation. Once placed in a assisted care facility, over two years ago, his spiritual shepherds did not visit, not once.

      Although, not unwelcome to the meetings as your mom was, she was basically forgotten as ‘a former publisher of the good news.’ The WTBTS’ mantra is;
      “well that’s a great story about your pioneer spirit and years of service; but what have you done for us lately’?

      Great article about the blood issue. As far as I am concerned I would take blood as a last alternative as I believe it is a dietary restriction only. Personally, I don’t trust the supply and as AIDS is constantly ‘changing’ I don’t see how anyone can declare the blood supply truly safe.

      However, I wouldn’t judge anyone for taking blood or refusing it as it is not my business to make personal decisions for people anymore than the Watchtower should be making those decisions for people. Their insistence in involvement with the everyday minutia of the lives of their adherents is insane and borders on cultism at worst and is controlling at best.

      Finally, to those that adhere to the advice that the Watchtower spews out by surrendering their own consciences to their interpretive dogma will either live or die no matter what the current policy of the Watchtower may be.

      Does Jehovah really demand another human sacrifice on the operating table or has Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary served that purpose for all time?

      • outandabout says:

        This sacrifice at Calvary that you kindly mention, Big B… didn’t he get resurrected? Didn’t he also come back to earth invisibly around 1874 or something?
        So there was no real sacrifice at all. It was a make believe sacrifice. This talk of someone being killed but actually being very much alive is very confusing to me. It’s like trying to get your head around yet another amendment to Watchtower ‘truth’. Is the Watchtower truth confusing because the original source is confusing? Rubbish from rubbish?

        Unlike all the Witnesses who have sacrificed their own lives or the lives of their children by refusing blood, God has has actually made no sacrifice at all. He still has his Son.

        • dee2 says:

          @Outandabout:

          You make an interesting point. This whole business of Jesus’ sacrifice is a very interesting topic.

          It is ironic that God endorsed the genocide of the Canaanites and others living in the “promised land” because the Canaanites, among other things, practiced human sacrifice, yet he, God, sacrificed his own son.

          It certainly makes me wonder:
          If human sacrifices were so detestable that it justified, ” killing everything that breathes ”
          (Deuteronomy 7:1-2; Deuteronomy 12:29 – 31; Deuteronomy 20:16-17; Leviticus 18:21, 24-27)

          then why did God do similarly by sacrificing his own son?

          • Winston Smith says:

            To your point dee2, it is indeed strange that human sacrifice figures so prominently in the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity. Since most would agree that such a practice is repugnant by all standards, it would seem that only an allegorical compression of such passages would be acceptable.

            I still recall the picture in the Mankinds Search for God book that showed an Aztec priest holding the heart of a human sacrifice victim with the caption “could all types of worship really be acceptable to God?” With all the victims sacrificed to their arbitrary rules on medicine, the WBTS seems to condemn themselves by their own words.

            WS

        • Big B says:

          @ Outandabout:

          Yes, I concur with your statement that (Jehovah) he still has his Son. However, he does not have his perfect human body which was sacrificed.

          What did God lose as he raised him up as a spiritual form? I believe it was the ‘body’ of Jesus, or in the case the animals, it was the body that was sacrificed to Jehovah; not the nephish (soul). The spirit, nephish, soul, life force, etc. always returns to the Creator no matter who or what it is at the time of death either in sacrifice, murder, war or other morbidity.

          As to whether Jesus was raised from the dead after approximately three days is another matter that has me pondering as well. Other than pure faith or belief in what is written and not personally witnessed the only physical evidence maybe the Shroud of Turin; which the Watchtower doesn’t believe in.

          However, the Shroud of Turin, although radio carbon testing states it is only as old as the Middle Ages, has not been duplicated; neither painted on, not sewn on, not scorched to make this image. Some say the image has been as if ‘Xeroxed’ on as it is in a 3D type of format.

          Humankind with all of its modern technology, medical advances, and space age gadgets cannot duplicate this image on another cloth, period.

          How did these ‘Middle Age’ people, (if this isn’t a picture of Christ’s Resurrection) make this image? This truly has baffled me.

          As to the 1874 or 1914 return of Christ as an invisible presence, I too don’t buy into that nonsense anymore.

          Firstly, it is my opinion that the white horse of the four horsemen of Revelation is not a crowned Jesus with a bow riding to complete his conquest or birth of the Kingdom as the WTBTS states.

          I firmly believe that the white horse and its rider is a false Christ which fits into the description of the end times which Jesus spoke to his disciples (including John, the receiver of the Revelation) before his death on the Mount of Olives.

          The Olivet discourse mentions in exact order what events would happen namely; false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, etc. (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21).

          I find that Jesus coming into the Revelation vision at chapter 19:11 is identified with the “one called faithful and true” and has a sword instead of a bow. He is called ‘faithful and TRUE’ for a reason. It is because he is not a false messiah which is what the WTBTS has been following for years.

          Now ask yourself this; would Jesus tell his disciples one thing on the Mount of Olives before his death and then reveal to John something entirely different at the end of the first century when giving him the Revelation? Personally speaking, I think not.

          • outandabout says:

            Okay everyone, thanks for the reply.
            One thing I noticed was that everybody has their own interpretation of scripture. If God was desperate for us to believe, why produce a document that is so confusing and open to interpretation that a general consensus will never be reached. Ever! Readers of the bible are forced to choose their own interpretation. How can this sort of stuff possibly lead to Truth?
            There is consensus on one though – “love me or I will kill you”. That warning from a loving, forgiving and compassionate god doesn’t exactly promote a feeling of love in the room. Being forced to love someone you fear is the essence of sado-masochism. We must become slaves, apparently. Born into it. Born sick, commanded to get well and be grateful for it, you wretch!
            Like I once said, if a man follows God’s example and kills his estranged partner for not loving him, that is an abhorrent crime, but if God does it seven billion times, that is justice?
            It just doesn’t fly anymore.
            But I do believe a guy by the name of Jesus once walked the earth and he was a mortal just like us and didn’t perform any real miracles at all. For a demonstration of the power of just our thoughts look no further than the witch doctor pointing the bone at a villager and the terrified villager who so believes he will die, simply does.

          • dee2 says:

            @Outandabout:

            It is certainly puzzling why sincere and devout people equally seek God’s will and pray to him yet they all come up with different answers so that there are approximately 40,000 different Christian denominations (Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary).

            If God has a relationship with every Christian and every Christian is praying to him then wouldn’t he tell every Christian the same thing so that Christians would agree on matters of doctrine and practice?

            Before his death, Jesus called for agreement among his followers rather than division (John 17:20-21). He declared that he would send the Holy Spirit to guide persons into all the truth (John 14:16 – 17, 26, John 15:26, John 16:7,13 – 15).

            So shouldn’t anyone who has a relationship with Jesus, reads the Bible, and listens to the Holy Spirit come to the same conclusions as others who are doing the same thing?

            Isn’t Jesus and the Holy Spirit capable of communicating the same ideas, beliefs, and practices to all of his followers so that sincere and devout Christians would all agree on what Jesus is telling them?

            It seems to me that if Jesus was capable of communicating the same ideas, beliefs, and practices to all of his followers then the Christianity we would see would look very different from the Christianity we see today, with all of its division and disagreement.

            I can only conclude that Jesus tells different people different things, but then why would Jesus contradict himself? Why would Jesus tell some people one thing and others something else?

          • outandabout says:

            I hate to disagree with you Big B, old buddy old pal, but the human body is far from ‘perfect’… but hey!, I’m grateful for it. The top ten flaws with our bodies are –
            An unsound spine (my backs killing me!)
            An inflexible knee ( damned knee!)
            A too narrow pelvis (childbirth hurts!)
            Exposed testicles (oh yeah!)
            Crowded teeth
            Meandering arteries
            A backward retina (presents problems but octopus have a flipped retina so why not us?)
            A misrouted laryngeal nerve
            A misplaced voice box (but it has allowed speech as a positive)
            A klugey brain, which can give rise to depression, madness, unreliable memories and confirmation bias.
            Conclusion?…..God is perfect… Evolution isn’t.

      • Openmind says:

        @ Big B,
        Thanks for sharing the story of your parents – depressingly similar to my own.
        I got out years ago with no dire consequences except for what I considered life long friends disappearing in the blink of an eye. I had many reasons for leaving, three of which were major and left the JC unable to do or say anything at that time.
        I have had a very happy life, a wonderful husband and fantastic well balanced family. Having said that, having some rather tenuous family relationships, I am still fearful of consequences should I speak out too much or get ‘found out’.
        Over the years I have heard of so many in what were my ‘group’ leaving the organisation, unhappily married, disfellowshipped and some suicides. It’s a fact that there are many good JW people, but in this day and age of free information I think if they do know TTATT or just choose to bury their heads in the sand to it all, that they are all complicit to what goes on within the organisation, like it or not.
        As for blood, yes I would take it IF my life depended on it as I would accept anything to save/improve my life. I also feel so very strongly that the blood issue and coercion by elders is tantamount to assisted suicide, or, as you say, human sacrifice, involving some very frightened badly informed people.
        When I see Big B on the readers comments list I am always eager to read your balanced comments! Keep them coming!
        Regards.

        • Big B says:

          @ Openmind;

          Thank you for your kind words. I hope that my little posts give needed encouragement to all that read them.

          We all need encouragement after the trauma most of us have endured and are still enduring from this counterfeit Christianity posing as God’s earthly representative spirit begotten spokesman.

  15. johnny says:

    Well it was a bi annual push or reminder from the platform to ensure the JWs signed their forms. I never signed mine and it led to me having zero involvement to the point I could not go on the platform on the TMS. My hand was very rarely chosen to answer up at meetings and I know I was ‘marked’. The fact is if one does not do what one is told without debate or question one gets left behind, marked and called spiritually weak. I was due surgery in 2013 where I was asked to sign a consent form by the surgeons if I would accept blood if the operation meant I required it (something all people and non JWs have to sign in the UK), I signed “I would” accept blood. I can tell you I was not DF but since that day I have been virtually shunned as all and I over heard an elder saying to his study that I was a “bad association”. I have since lefts the WTBTS.

  16. Andrew Haas says:

    I left 17 years ago. While I was there I raised 3 children in the Organisation. I always signed the no blood card but can assure you I hoped that I would never have to make a life or death decision for my family. I think many Witnesses are like that. Hoping beyond hope that they would be spared from making that decision. The greater problem as I see it is that due to Organisational policies (policies that I supported whilst there) I believe we love less than we should. I believe that mentally, from the beginning of our children’s lives we set up a mental disconnect from those we should love unreservedly. I believe that we live with a fear or thinking process that tells us that one day if my child has to have a blood transfusion and that as the parent I make the decision to go along with Organisation policy, I will chose imposed policy over natural love. If one day my children leave the Organisation and I have to shun them I will again have to chose Organisational policy over natural love. I feel I robbed my children of the natural, unfaltering, deep and abiding love that they deserved. For that I live in shame.

    • Peggy says:

      Andrew, Please do not be in shame over this. You should be receiving a round of applause for leaving. And, you and family suffered no loss of life due to this policy. But, Andrew, you hit the nail on the head about the way witnesses love less than they should naturally. The natural love of a parent should compel abiding love. Siblings should naturally love one another. Undue influence by a highly controlling organization takes that love away. It is sick and they should be shamed.

    • markw says:

      Andrew. I applaud every single word you wrote. That appalling organization forces us to love our children conditionally. Your comments are so, so true.

      • outandabout says:

        I also applaud what you wrote, Andrew. But of course a fully deluded Witness will view denying their child blood is for their greater good.

        Yes, it is an appalling Organisation.

        “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and eventually degenerates into racket.” – American social philosopher Eric Hoffer, quoted in the Week.

    • Caroline says:

      Andrew Haas, along with your thoughts I was thinking today what it’s like when you “study” the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses and you get baptized.

      They make you think you are so privileged to be in the religion because it’s the cleanest and purest and most sacred of all religions but with that “privilege”, you give up your family who aren’t Witnesses, you have the weight of the world on your shoulders in that if you don’t devote the rest of your life to the saving of mankind from Armageddon, Jehovah will kill you at Armageddon, you can never have a vacation away from the meetings because even if you can get away, you still have to take along dress clothes so you can look up any congregation where you go to and go to their meetings because it’s a “command” and then you are forced to sign a blood card so that if you ever need a blood transfusion, you will die for the religion.

      Getting trapped into a Bible Study was the first mistake.

      I liken it to getting involved in the mafia. Once you get involved in it, you are commanded to do what they tell you to do or you die.

      It is a horrific way to live but the Society keeps telling you that you are the “happiest” people on the earth but inside Witnesses are filled with guilt and fear and arrogance, believing they are the only ones on earth doing God’s will.

  17. Aureo says:

    Thank you for the article, however seeing a few of the comments I see the need to respond.

    While the cards are handed out on a service meeting night and the “flock” are repeatedly encouraged to get the the cards signed and witnessed that very evening, nobody was ever pushed or proded in any way shape or form. I remember having signed cards for two meetings straight as an Elder. I myself NEVER EVER completed my card or had it witnessed. As for the comment about JW’s being obliged to advise otehr memebers of congregaton they were aving a procedure. Best advice…keep your personal life personal and do not let other people interfere….the tragedy of all these recents deaths…family members should just demand that family members be present when medical decisions need to be made so as to avoid Watchtower interference!

    • Winston Smith says:

      @Aureo,
      Keep in mind that the practices may vary slightly in different congregations and in different parts of the world. When I was an elder, each book study overseer was given a list of members they were responsible for and had to keep on them until everyone on their list had completed their card. Although at the time I didn’t realize what I was doing as a CBSO, in retrospect I’d consider that “pushing and prodding.” Having been indoctrinated since birth, it never occurred to me that anyone might be resistant to signing the blood card. I thought the members were just lazy or forgetful in completing the paperwork.

      WS

  18. sylvain says:

    hi

    interesting article as always, but i have doubts regarding this:
    “Additionally, a copy of their medical directives will be kept by the congregation Secretary (an elder responsible for all congregation documents) thus limiting the options of a JW to pretend they’ve signed the documents but deliver slightly modified or completely different instructions to their doctor. Again, a JW cannot opt out of giving the Secretary the documents without drawing attention and scrutiny from the enforcement-minded Body of Elders.”

    it may depend from country to country, but here in France i have not experienced that. I have never in my life of baptised JW gave a copy of the directive to an elder, and since 5 years that i am a still in baptised but realistic JW(for family reasons) i did not sign directive but destroyed it, and no elder in the congregation asked me anything about that…

    • JBob says:

      It would be curious if someone challenged this based on HIPAA Privacy Rule and PHI/PPI regulations in the USA. Those laws rule that personal and confidential information regarding an individual’s health and health maintenance choices is confidential and private. In fact, when JW’s in provider offices have opted to use the JW rules to “rat” on an offender, they have been terminated and civil courts have ruled with this law.

      Granted the challenger will be at-risk / coerced to conform, but such a lawsuit would upset the already teetering cart the Watchtower has overburdened itself.

  19. Will says:

    Hi Covert Fade,

    This article mentions that the elders keep a copy of the medical directive. . Is this new? I unofficially left over 2 years ago and I never had to give the elders a copy of my medical directive card or maybe I just don’t remember. I ripped any cards I had, so I don’t even have one.

    • Covert Fade says:

      Hi Will

      Our understanding of this issue is that the Secretary does now keep a copy of this document, however we are checking further and will amend the article on this point if we get further information.

      • Stirring Awake says:

        I left last year. Being a ‘born in’ witness, on no occasion did I ever sign more than one copy. The only AMD I signed was the one I kept in my wallet.

      • Merrill says:

        The instructions from the Society are that the Secretary is to keep a copy in the cong. file. However, it is left up to him to follow through. In my cong. the Secretary is not the most conscientious. If any publisher voluntarily gave him a copy he would file it.

      • Winston Smith says:

        When I was the congregation secretary, we never kept copies of the small “no blood” carrying card. However we did keep copies of the more lengthy advance directive paperwork. This was a multi page document that indicated whether you would accept blood fractions and related treatment.

        BTW, Covert Fade, I want to say that this was a very well-written and well-researched article on this topic.

        WS

    • Tara says:

      When I was in England I did indeed have to give a copy of the directive to the Secretary. This document was large. It was A4 and in depth. Each year we had to fill in a new blood card. When I moved to Canada I was given one new card…. that was it. The talk was given each year but no new cards were given out. This was quite confusing as I was used to doing this yearly. I was told we had to request new cards only if our last one was tatty or the info changed. It seems policy changes from one place to another.

  20. JBob says:

    Such a tangled web…

    The HLC and PVG groups all add to the murkiness when it comes to medical treatment acceptable or not acceptable. Also, very confusing is when someone says “I don’t accept blood” but in their own literature it makes allowances for some blood-derivatives to be accepted. I have seen Witness patients make extraordinary plans prior to surgery to meet requirements of “bloodless” surgery or “blood components derived from centrifuging”. Other Witnesses have been “accidentally” given blood because the HLC or PVG groups are not allowed beyond a certain point toward the surgical arena; it was between them and the doctor. However, if you are in that mind-control fest with a certainty that J* would reveal all, you would be inclined to confess all and explain all.

    If I were a conspiracy theory fan, I’d say this is the perfect storm. How do you enforce rules and regulations on a burgeoning popluation without having a huge enforcement agency and turning into a police state? Mind-control and undue influence so that persons police themselves and even incriminate themselves, even regarding rules that have conflicting and confusing information surrounding them.

  21. Ready 4 to Fade says:

    The height of hypocrisy is the Borg’s unrelenting stance on giving no medical advice to fellow believers regarding diet, exercise vitamins etc.. But they can mandate this extreme edict on refusing blood. So many preventative measures could be taken to prevent heart disease, diabetes and peripheral vascular disease which lead to the need for blood thinners and have a higher risk of bleeding. But no, the scripture used to say at least… Bodily training is beneficial for little. The new system will solve your problems so don’t bother eating healthy or exercising now. I know a sister who took ibuprofen in large quantities and ended up with a bleeding gastric ulcer and died when they couldn’t stop the bleeding. Years of field service packed into the back of a sedan in bumpy country did a number on her back. So in short the “truth” killed her. Why not a simple list of ways to prevent your bleeding risks?

    • Sarah says:

      Yes good comment. All JWs must take care of their health. They need to educate themselves. There’s no excuse now, due to the internet.

  22. konceptual99 says:

    Thanks for a great article and the one by Steve linked to in the comments is well worth a read as well. As a nominally active Witness currently fading, the blood issue was a very early marker for me and has to be the most dangerous doctrine of the WTS. It is completely illogical yet promotes behaviour that can risk one’s life. I bought into it for years and millions of others continue to do so. It’s a disgrace that the GB stick to their guns on this and articles like this are fantastic for keeping the matter high on the agenda.

  23. Sharon Christensen says:

    Thanx for this well done article. Pompousness …was that not one of the first scriptural requirements to be an …uppity up in the Jw. org? Normal, plain Witnesses are ….Mushrooms! As for keeping family together…uh yeh…thanx to Jw.org…our Mother, still in is always chewin us out and playing one against the other…as of a few moments ago…she hung up on me..called me an apostate! :). And said she shall never talk to me again! ;). Funny thing is my two bros. and I have left…we still do not get along cuz of Jw. org influence, and Mom saying it is my fault they left…heck so, boils down to…I will die at armegedon and few times over to pay for all…:(. I am tired of all the crap a person has had to go thru from these corrupt GB creatures who set themselves up over everyone and dictate ones every move. Worship of God, second place…first you must do and say as they say or die. I turned my back on this corrupt religion who conts to sacrifice innocent people long ago in one way or another….Jesus said…turn the other cheek…but after you run out of cks…then what? Burn the bridges of family and friends who conts to let Jworgy govern how they live and treat me….toss in my blood card to, forgot it is still in my purse! Shudderz!…(smiles)…. ah, weight loss! Bonus! 😉

  24. Sarah says:

    I can’t condone WT’s actions as written by ‘Openmind’ above, but I wouldn’t have blood ever in an operation. It’s my choice. Over many years people, not witnesses, have told me stories that would put me off blood even if I didn’t have a religious preference not to take it.

    If you have blood in India, for example, you really do put your life at risk. People are so poor they’ll sell their blood and lie to awkward questions. OK, a lot of us don’t live there but even so, what about those who contracted HIV and died as a result, what about those who have an allergic reaction to IgA in someone else’s blood, or contract hepatitis C? I suspect they would wish they’d not had blood.

    Look up the statistics. Blood does kill people. There is some suggestion that one of the ladies who died in Canada did have blood. If she did, it didn’t save her. There are circumstances where blood just will not save you. I suspect Eloise was one of those who would have died anyway.

    The medical profession does kill people all the time. People suffer and die from the wrong diagnosis of drugs or a bad reaction to them. Doctors do not have time to check everyone for any possible reaction to drugs.

    From a religious point of view I prefer to allow the blood of Christ to save me. No-one else has to believe this if they don’t want to. However, no coercion should be used. People have free will and must use it as they see fit.

    There’s a lot more to it, of course, but space not available here. All the best.

    • dee2 says:

      Sarah,

      My mother had a blood transfusion after giving birth to me because she began to hemorrhage badly (interestingly I was born in a nursing home).
      As far as I know, she did not have an adverse reaction to the transfusion.

      I’m glad she had the transfusion to save her life because 9 years later she gave birth to my brother who means a lot to me and whom I love more than life itself.

      My mother was never a JW, but studied with them at one point, when I was an adolescent. She is still alive today by the way.

      Just about every form of medical treatment, whether a blood transfusion, drugs, surgical procedures etc. have some risk associated with them. Doctors administer medical treatments if they deem the benefits will outweigh the risks and in some cases they may be able to mitigate the associated risks.

    • dee2 says:

      *******born in a nursing home – meant to say I was born in a private institution run by midwives.

    • Ready 4 to Fade says:

      I have personally seen or administered hundreds of blood transfusions over the past 10 years and have seen only one reaction in that time. Matching antibodies is a time consuming part of the process. The thresholds for transfusions do continue to be extended, less are being given in general. However, platelets and plasma are more common in general to prevent further blood loss and do not require as strict of a cross-match as other blood products. Yes, the medical community makes mistakes, but so does the general population in not taking on personal responsibility for their own health, and being informed as well. To assume that Eloise would have died with a blood transfusion is a stretch. This poor girl seemed to linger on for several days with some level of lucidity even towards the end. A young healthy girl like this lacking significant co-morbidities may have rallied beyond all expectations with timely intervention. What would have made the most significant impact would have been an earlier diagnosis of the uterine rupture which was likely impossible as there was no ultrasound available in her birth setting.

    • Victor says:

      “Look up the statistics. Blood does kill people”. Can you show us these statistics, please?

  25. Telescopium says:

    I always signed my blood card without question, not realizing that I had any other option. The same happened for joining the TMS, baptism, pioneering, becoming a MS, and then an elder. Being raised in a Witness family from birth ensures that a person won’t get enough information to truly make their own decisions on any of those matters. This is coercion!

    So, yes – the Witnesses sign the card.
    Yes – they personally refuse blood.
    Yes – they drive to Englewood Hospital (or other).
    Yes – they tell the elders and HLC.
    Yes – they acknowledge they may die on the table.

    But I can tell you that these decisions are NOT made by the actual person. They are the decisions of the Organization – the grand puppeteer, who makes the Witnesses move and act so convincingly real. But they’re not real. The true person is buried deep, shuttered and chained, hidden.

    I know this because I was one of them. I sold myself to the Organization, gave them MY LIFE to do as they pleased! I was a puppet! In return, they paid me in coins of fear and guilt. It took a long time, but I finally realized this, and my trust in them broke. In can honestly say that the breach will remain until they take the steps to fix it. I’ve already done enough.

    • Winston Smith says:

      @Telescopium
      Excellent comment/observations. Like you, I was born-in and followed exactly the same path as you did. I remember the first glimmers that something wasn’t right, something was off, but it took a long time to come to the fore. I wonder how many more like you and I are still trapped in this mind-numbing cult? I hope they get out.

      WS

      • Telescopium says:

        Thanks Winston.
        I wish the same. I’m trying little things to get my family to start thinking…

  26. Ken Xydias says:

    Interesting that the coroner wants to know if there was freedom of choice by those who refused a transfusion and died. But where is he/she going to get objective information? Certainly not from official sources and believers who will resort to the “theocratic lie”. How about providing contact information for the coroner – name, email address etc., so that those of us who know the answer can provide it. Seems to me to be a far more effective approach than allowing the coroner to be “informed” by the Watchtower.

  27. Noddy says:

    In manny western countries such as mine advocating suicide or actively help/ support someone to commit suicide IS A CRIME.

    In this regard the HLC and PVG groups (which are nothing less than pressure/coertion groups) should be properly scrutinized by the judicial system.

    How can it be possible in the 21st century to alow a religious cult to have formal organized structures to activelly commit a crime ???

    I dare to say Jim jones is an apprentice compared to GB

  28. Sharon Christensen says:

    Thanx! 😉

  29. ALAN says:

    I once argued with a doctor when I was in the ministry-he told me that people die without blood, I told him that you can use alternatives, he was cross thinking I was ignorant! But I just thought he was a bigoted arrogant man after all I got my information from Watchtower-all he had was years of training and experience! Right??

    My brother died 12 years ago through lack of blood! We trusted the information given out by wt-it was wrong!

    He was slipping away with internal bleeding, when the surgeon explained this to me I suggested EPO he told me that EPO takes time to work and that my brother didn’t have that time. We left it in jehavah’s hands?!And spent 4 days watching him die!!

    Now his widow has had 12 lonely years, he didn’t see his son married, he has never met his 3 grandchildren-you can never buy back that time,they have missed out on a great guy and he has missed out on one of the joys of life, and I miss him turning up on my doorstep at ten o’clock at night drinking my tea and talking till the wee hours

    Medical treatment should be decided on the best medical advice available at the time-NOT on some men’s interpretation of an ancient book!

    Thank you for this great site

    WM

    • Ready 4 to Fade says:

      The Borg routinely paints the medical community as being ignorant buffoons who use blood transfusions as a safety net for their sloppy techniques. EPO like you said takes time to work and also carries with it a cancer risk, from the hyper-stimulation of bone marrow, which the Borg conveniently fails to mention. My condolences about your brother, such a shameful loss of a person who meant so much to you and his children.

    • Big B says:

      A sad commentary about the loss of your brother Alan. My sincere condolences to you and his family for your loss.

      This is one doctrine, albeit a misinterpreted one, that the Governing Body will never back off of. The ramifications and repercussions from nullifying the blood transfusion policy would result in lawsuits too numerous to count.

      The number of deaths caused by their medical policies would stagger the imagination. If everyone (JW’s) decided not to sign their blood cards or refuse them outright (purely hypothetical) what would the G.B. do then? Put everyone who refused on some sort of probation, disassociation or dis-fellowship them?

      No. Why? Where would all of the continued contributions come from? They would then have to relax their policies in order to remain solvent.

  30. Kate says:

    First of all, excellent article. Thank you!

    Secondly, I have come to realize since leaving the organization, that when I didn’t know I had a choice about doing something or not doing it, I effectively didn’t have a choice.

    • outandabout says:

      That’s what Cults do to a person, Kate. Through a series of techniques the victim is unaware of, they will disconnect a person from their conscience. How else do you get a parent to override their strongest instinct which is the protection and survival of their offspring?

      Only something evil can achieve that. Is there any difference between a person denying themselves life saving blood just because somebody says so and the drinking of cyanide lased Kool-Aid…. just because somebody said so?

    • Wideawake says:

      Spot on Kate…your life was micromanaged..your choices made for you..classic cult mentality…you think you are making a choice but you have been brainwashed into accepting others influence over your life…it’s infuriating and shocking when you see it…but your mind will just become freer and liberated…We are all with you…we get it..it’s not ‘the best life ever’.

  31. jonny O. says:

    ABSTAIN

    [ab-steyn]
    verb (used without object)

    1.
    to hold oneself back voluntarily, especially from something regarded as improper or unhealthy (usually followed by from).

    the key word in the definiotion of abstsin is the word voluntarily, or voluntary. The defintion for voluntary is as follows

    VOLUNTARY

    [vol-uh n-ter-ee]

    adjective
    1.
    done, made, brought about, undertaken, etc., of one’s own accord or by free choice:
    a voluntary contribution.

    2.
    of, relating to, or acting in accord with the will:
    voluntary cooperation.

    adjective
    3.
    of, relating to, or depending on voluntary action:
    voluntary hospitals.
    4.
    Law.
    acting or done without compulsion or obligation.

    Now what’s the point to this? The point is the word used, ABSTAIN, does not mean to simply refrain from something, it means to do so because you choose not to, to do it of your own free will and not influenced by the will of others. The truth is that the only reason any former or current JW only had or have this view on blood because were told to have it and were not given an option to truly make a conscience decision because that view point is the only one were allowed to have. Whether we feel that the bible is including transfusions or not is not something we can decide. What we feel is irrelevant. Therefore whether the belief is true of not is not the Issue, the Issue is no JW can abstain. From blood because they’re decision is based on the will of others not our own. we may voluntarily refuse blood but we did not come to that viewpoint voluntarily it was influenced by the view we have of those who teach it is a specific bible commandment that we refuse blood and because of th3 consequences that come with not following that commandment. If however it truly is a commandment then the word abstain should.be replaced because it is a contradiction . So again until they get rid of this policy, then all JWs will continue to be in violation of thAt scripture because they cannot be abstaining from blood even if they do refuse it because they did it because were told to not because we really choose not to.

    • Telescopium says:

      “…even if they do refuse it because they did it because were told to not because we really choose not to.”

      Whoa… -mind blown-

      • outandabout says:

        It looks as if the WT have created a confusing smokescreen around the blood issue which seems to say “you must abstain from blood”, which is then enforced by Blood Goon’s in hospitals but which at the same time keeps the WT in a seemingly safe legal position by claiming it is a voluntary decision free of coercion, and “here’s the signed card and here’s a copy of the document”.
        They know the blood ban is completely transparent and are ready for a fight.

  32. Tony Brock says:

    I am dealing with this right now with a JW family member who is about to undergo a procedure that, if something might go wrong, would require a blood transfusion. What frustrates me the most is that the WT could print an article tomorrow saying that “new light” reveals blood transfusions for lifesaving medical procedures are just fine. They would go into a lengthy explanation of how the principles of blood described in the Bible clearly show that while blood should not be eaten, using it to save a person’s life is completely in line with showing proper respect for the “gift of life that Jehovah has given us,” and every JW around the world – after what I imagine would be a huge sigh of relief – would immediately flip their “personal” stance on blood. Anybody who then died before the change would have been victims of “old light,” but they would simply be seen as faithful men and women who upheld the sovereignty of Jehovah’s organization, and who would be blessed for their faithfulness in the coming paradise on earth. But no apology for these unnecessary deaths would ever be issued by the Governing Body.

  33. Steve says:

    Well said. I currently serve as an MS in the congregation and was appalled that the elders literally hounded me to sign the AMD card so as to have a copy on file. By an odd coincidence I have just read the chapter dealing with this issue in Ray Franz’ excellent book “In search of Christian freedom” Having already read Crisis of Conscience I am wide awake to the the double standards of an organization that fulfills Titus 1:16. However, the WBTS still holds me captive physically if not spiritually. The internet helps JWs to wake up but most are too deeply indoctrinated to ever look beyond the fence that binds them.Keep up the good work of exposing their hypocrisy.

  34. Doc Obvious says:

    Another Flip-Flopping doctrine by Watchtower. The GB are the biggest Flip-Floppers the world has ever seen. The “this generation” teaching is another. Also, the “higher education” should I stay or should I go doctrine. The list keeps growing.

  35. Whip It says:

    2 things, blood fractions & i dont carry the card

  36. Bad Penny says:

    Another exceedingly well written article Covert Fade.

    A few years ago I underwent lifesaving surgery. The blood issue came up of course, (at the time I was a fully fledged and committed Witness with blood card and medical directive duly filled in). The anaesthetist spoke to me just before I went down for surgery and told me that he would withhold blood if I haemorrhaged. Great timing! Thankfully, I did not need a transfusion and live to tell the tale. What pressure to put someone under. Now I know TTATT my blood card and all related documents have been burned. I mentioned to my surgeon that if there was any way I could help to save the life of a witness facing this challenge by talking to them please let me know. She said that she had lost a JW patient who refused blood, she had to stand by and watch her die. ‘You will not get past the ‘posse’ my dear’, she said, referring to the HLC.
    Poor captive witnesses. Don’t sacrifice your life for the sake of men who have misapplied scripture. Research, research, research. Life is too precious, hang on to it!

  37. suzanne says:

    correction;
    blood transfusions are world war II patriot war propaganda to get people to back up the war,,
    do the research,,
    at the same time the cannabis ban was to make oil companies and forestry companies rich, by banning the competition.
    they made cannabis ILLEGAL while promoting cigarettes with ads,[see on youtube] about how smoking is good for digestion,,, my mom smoked while pregnant with me,,, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6KboNYL3NY
    they said 9 out of 10 doctors smoke camels,,
    the best gift to give a loved for Christmas was a carton of cigarettes, !!!!

  38. Gwen says:

    You can get any one of those diseases you list above without a blood transfusion. I have had Epstein Barr, Hepatitis B, tick fever, measles & herpes virus (cold sores) and I have never had or needed a blood transfusion in my life.

    Everyone in the world has or is carrying most of what you listed without realising it. they are easy contractible diseases from human to human through saliva or animal to human through parasites like mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies etc. You only have to mix with humans & animals to be infected.

  39. Ready 4 to Fade says:

    I doubt you’ve ever seen someone with a Hemoglobin level of 2 it isn’t pretty, unconscious, head bobbing gasping for air. Usually when someone’s Hemoglobin is that low they continue to bleed since their platelets and clotting factors have been depleted as well. Turning up the oxygen isn’t a realistic answer since only 0.3% of the oxygen is dissolved in plasma the remaining 99.7% is attached to Hemoglobin. Placing someone on 100% oxygen for more than 24 hours can lead to a host of other problems from “oxygen toxicity”. Google the phrase if you don’t believe me. Pulmonary fibrosis, slow lung collapse (atelectasis) and in infants especially, blindness (retinopathy). I’m not saying blood is a miracle cure, but when patient’s are bleeding, especially gastrointestinal bleeds they require clotting factors and platelets which Witnesses refuse.

  40. Caroline says:

    suzanne, where did you get all this information so we can look it up to make sure it wasn’t made up?