Birmingham Children's Hospital, where the baby is being treated
Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where the baby is being treated

The High Court in the UK has ruled that a sick baby who is only a few weeks old will receive blood despite the beliefs of its Jehovah’s Witness parents, according to the Mirror newspaper.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are instructed to refuse whole blood treatment due to their leaders’ insistence that this contravenes commands in the bible, which ban the injestion of blood.

But an unidentified child of Witness parents who is being treated by surgeons at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital will now be receiving blood irrespective of his parents’ religious views.

In delivering the ruling, Mr Justice Keehan said: “I entirely understand and sympathise with the stance of these parents. Their objection is on the basis of their religious beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses. They cannot consent to (their son) receiving blood products during surgery.”

However, Mr Justice Keehan recognized that the child’s medical needs are paramount. “Standing back and looking at (the baby’s) best interests, I am in no doubt whatsoever it is in his best interests to undergo the surgery that is proposed,” he said.

Specialists had already concluded that the child would have no “long-term prospect of survival” without the surgery, which the parents had consented to provided no blood was used. The hospital therefore applied to the High Court so that the surgery could proceed irrespective of their stipulations.

Two similar cases, in Australia and New Zealand, have already been reported in the last few months.

Dissent among conscientious Witnesses

More than 1,500 respondents have so far taken part in this website’s 2014 Global Survey of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Of these, 258 active Witnesses have answered the following question…

Chart_Q35_140307It is noteworthy that at least 62.4% of active Witnesses taking part in our survey have voted to say that they would personally not allow their child to die if a blood transfusion were the only option for survival.

Young children are incapable of fully grasping the religious beliefs of their parents, and should therefore not be treated as though they are bound by them – especially when life is in the balance.

Even so, there will always be Witnesses for whom the commands of their leaders supercede the sanctity of human life. When such ones become embroiled in these situations, it is reassuring that doctors, with the backing of the legal system, have the ability and willingness to impose common sense and thus save lives.

 

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Further reading…

67 thoughts on “High Court orders baby in UK to have blood transfusion against parents’ wishes

  • March 7, 2014 at 4:37 am
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    How long will it be before religious beliefs, simply by the fact of their being ‘religious’ are ‘understandable’ and ‘worthy of respect’. We do not accord such to beliefs political. There is no sympathy from official circles for, say, a racist murderer, who is motivated by allegiance to the Ku Klux Klan. Time religion was knocked off its perch.

  • March 7, 2014 at 5:02 am
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    I am definitely one of those who will not let there child die. Recently I told my wife my feelings on this. She is a great wife but very loyal to “the truth”. She doesn’t get it but I’m gonna keep planting seeds of real truth with her. It is very difficult to leave this organization. The threat of losing my extended family due to being shunned is very real and scary to me.

  • March 7, 2014 at 5:03 am
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    I recently left the Organisation after realising that it wasn’t ‘the truth’.

    For the 22 years I was baptised I was convinced that I would reject a blood transfusion for myself, my wife or our 2 children. Thankfully, I never faced the circumstances where I had to make that decision.

    Now I’m out, I’m embarrassed that I was once so controlled by the Governing Body.

    The Governing Body has too much control and power.

    The rank-and-file Witnesses think that loyalty to Jehovah, and loyalty to the Organisation, are the same thing.

  • March 7, 2014 at 5:11 am
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    George. I am in the same boat as you are.

    As for the story, it would be very interesting to know what the HLC has done or how they reacted to the ruling. No mention for JW representatives at all. Did they get involved?

  • March 7, 2014 at 5:24 am
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    I don’t understand why the JW’s don’t seem to understand the difference between the words “ingestion” and “injection”?

    This subject has never fully come up between my wife (a member) and me. I quite hope it doesn’t. It will sadden me to think that she would NOT accept a transfusion of whole blood if it would save her life. I suppose in the end, it would be her choice and I would have to accept it as such, but she would also have first to make the choice that should she chose NOT to have a transfusion, then that means she is belittling our marital relationship thusly, and prior to the crisis, should it occur, she would have to carry that decision and burden with her.

    This sort of “religious” reason for living a certain way in this particular time and era is hogwash.

  • March 7, 2014 at 5:41 am
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    Thank goodness for the Law of the Land. When this child grows up no doubt he will be so thankful that he wasn’t allowed to be a child sacrifice to a blood-thirsty god.

  • March 7, 2014 at 5:50 am
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    You just dont care about that! Live your life.friends you can find a new one. Life you have just one !Dont waste it.

  • March 7, 2014 at 6:31 am
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    Having been a witness for the past thirty years, I was always definite about the sanctity of blood and made the decision not to have a blood transfusion if it happened to be my bad fortune to need one! However, I did agree to the fractions. I have now left the organisation because of discovering cover-ups over child abuse and deception over 607 and thus 1914. As I can no longer trust the society to tell me the absolute truth about everything, I am not going to put my life in their hands anymore. Jesus Christ told us that we should have life and have it in abundance. Life itself is a gift from God. My Blood Card has been burned. I will put my life in the hands of the Most High and Him alone, I will no longer put my trust in earthling man to whom no salvation belongs. As to refusing blood for our children, is this not tantamount to having them pass through the fire to Molech as some sort of sacrifice! Come on people. God is LOVE! Would he refuse a child entry into the Paradise earth because of what men say? Would he disfellowship a child or parents who are put under this terrible scenario to choose between life or death? I don’t think so. The command to abstain from blood was to appreciate it’s sanctity and not to threaten lives or indeed, take them!

  • March 7, 2014 at 6:59 am
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    My oppinion on that matter is, that the whole Governing Body should held responsible for multible murder and for destruction of families. I was born into a JW family. Now after over forty years I found the real truth.

  • March 7, 2014 at 7:33 am
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    I was in for 30 years and probably would have done it out of fear but I had my doubts about it and questioned why because to me there is a difference between ingest and inject, of course I was shot down with the pat answer.

    Those of you out there who wouldn’t because they think it is God’s law or it is harmful because of what the WTBTS says, need to do your own research without using the watchtower library. You will find with most of their doctrines they are false and you will find the real truth. This can mean your life so research!

  • March 7, 2014 at 8:06 am
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    This is the best news all day. Its time that the GB was made to sense!

    You will not find any Chapter, nor verse in the Bible that forbids blood transfusions…You cant drink the stuff and that’s fair enough (WHO WOULD WANT TO?), but you can and must used blood to save lives!

    Beside is all a fuss over nothing which sadly has caused too many deaths and must now be ruled illegal, made illegal based upon scripture because it is not in there anywhere.

    Look if Blood was so precious to Jehovah, then why did he allow Solomon’s Temple to be used as an abattoir where the blood flowed freely, gallons per second 24/7 for hundreds of years?

    Its all rubbish, and its time to make a stand against these nutcases who called themselves Christians!

  • March 7, 2014 at 8:11 am
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    Já no meu FACE BOOK.

    Grande abraço, irmão John Cedars

    Apóstolo TDS
    From Brasil/São Paulo

  • March 7, 2014 at 8:54 am
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    I saw an article about this case yesterday, on a Facebook group called “Opposing Views.” While reading the comments section at the bottom of the article, I was surprised to see that many people, both witnesses and non-witnesses, disagreed with the judge’s decision. In fact, the second most “liked” comment was liked just under half as many times as the top comment, which supported the judge’s decision.

    “Just because you dont agree with their beliefs does NOT mean the government or you have a say on the matter. It is their life, their baby, and their religious beliefs, which we have a freedom to practice. You think it is easy for a couple to watch their child dying? Of course it isn’t. Let them do as they see fit. You wouldn’t want others barging in on your beliefs or lifestyle just because they don’t like or understand it. Leave the parents alone to grieve. You are not in their shoes.”

    It’s likely that this comment was written by a witness. Apparently many witnesses visit opposing views, even though it’s a website dedicated to stirring up hot debate among the masses on topics such as politics and religion. As a witness, one is strongly discouraged from picking sides on those issues particularly. It might be that many of the JW’s who frequent the site don’t participate often, but this was an issue they felt needed defending. Whatever the case, witnesses ran to the side of the society and its practices, even though adherence to their stance would likely result in the death of a baby.

    A couple of other comments clearly influenced by witness thinking:

    “This is the most criminal thing the court can do. They have no right to dictate to a family that clearly loves their child more than the judge loves his kids. Sad that the devil uses Government, courts and police to punish innocent parents that love their children more than this world! SHAME ON THE COURT!”

    “I am against the judge. Blood transfussions are so dangerous. You can end up with severe complication viruses, deseases etc. Also there are alternative methods, doctors know these methods but won’t tell anyone. when blood stops flowing it is dead its like taking blood out of a corp. You pple that support the judge are crazy. Is there a machine that can detect desease, Hiv no. There are so many pple suffering the consequences of blood transfusions.”

    And, my personal favorite:

    “Okay first of ALL RELIGIONS ARE WORLDLY JW IS FAITH CALLED” THE WAY” JESUS TAUGHT MANY profess to be Christians but CLEARLY WERE NOT CHRISTIAN REMEMBER? THEY WOULD APPEAR TO BE BUT WERE NOT HELLO FALSE RELIGION EXISTS !! SO WELCOME TO THE TRUTH OH AND THE BLOOD IS SACRED THAT BELONGS TO GOD ITS HIS THATS A COMMAND THAT HIS LAWS BE OBEYED REMEMBER THIS???? FAITH PEOPLE OH AND NOT A CULT CULTS HIDE OUT AND JWS MAKE THE TRUTH KNOWN TO HOW MANY LANDS THANK YOU JEHOVAH

  • March 7, 2014 at 8:55 am
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    I saw an article about this case yesterday, on a facebook group called “Opposing Views.” While reading the comments section at the bottom of the article, I was surprised to see that many people, both witnesses and non-witnesses, disagreed with the judge’s decision. In fact, the second most “liked” comment was liked just under half as many times as the top comment, which supported the judge’s decision.

    “Just because you dont agree with their beliefs does NOT mean the government or you have a say on the matter. It is their life, their baby, and their religious beliefs, which we have a freedom to practice. You think it is easy for a couple to watch their child dying? Of course it isn’t. Let them do as they see fit. You wouldn’t want others barging in on your beliefs or lifestyle just because they don’t like or understand it. Leave the parents alone to grieve. You are not in their shoes.”

    It’s likely that this comment was written by a witness. Apparently many witnesses visit opposing views, even though it’s a website dedicated to stirring up hot debate among the masses on topics such as politics and religion. As a witness, one is strongly discouraged from picking sides on those issues particularly. It might be that many of the JW’s who frequent the site don’t participate often, but this was an issue they felt needed defending. Whatever the case, witnesses ran to the side of the society and its practices, even though adherence to their stance would likely result in the death of a baby.

    A couple of other comments clearly influenced by witness thinking:

    “This is the most criminal thing the court can do. They have no right to dictate to a family that clearly loves their child more than the judge loves his kids. Sad that the devil uses Government, courts and police to punish innocent parents that love their children more than this world! SHAME ON THE COURT!”

    “I am against the judge. Blood transfussions are so dangerous. You can end up with severe complication viruses, deseases etc. Also there are alternative methods, doctors know these methods but won’t tell anyone. when blood stops flowing it is dead its like taking blood out of a corp. You pple that support the judge are crazy. Is there a machine that can detect desease, Hiv no. There are so many pple suffering the consequences of blood transfusions.”

    And, my personal favorite:

    “Okay first of ALL RELIGIONS ARE WORLDLY JW IS FAITH CALLED” THE WAY” JESUS TAUGHT MANY profess to be Christians but CLEARLY WERE NOT CHRISTIAN REMEMBER? THEY WOULD APPEAR TO BE BUT WERE NOT HELLO FALSE RELIGION EXISTS !! SO WELCOME TO THE TRUTH OH AND THE BLOOD IS SACRED THAT BELONGS TO GOD ITS HIS THATS A COMMAND THAT HIS LAWS BE OBEYED REMEMBER THIS???? FAITH PEOPLE OH AND NOT A CULT CULTS HIDE OUT AND JWS MAKE THE TRUTH KNOWN TO HOW MANY LANDS THANK YOU JEHOVAH

  • March 7, 2014 at 8:56 am
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    While the witness’ support of the blood doctrine disturbed (and at times amused) me, I wasn’t surprised. What did surprise me was seeing how many non-witnesses agreed with upholding the parent’s wishes.

    “The court should stay out of peoples business and do their job.”

    “Letting the government deciding what’s best for you and your family is generally a bad thing”- I will mention that I found this comment ironic because the member’s profile picture was of the American flag.

    “As much as I want to take the judges side the law is clear in the US at least freedom of religion may not be infringed. And this is a clear violation of that. Whether we like it or not there isn’t much we can do unless you want to give up all your rights to meet the needs of everyone. If no one stands for their rights who will stand up for yours.”

    Most of the arguments presented by non-witnesses centered around first amendment rights and governmental responsibilities. Some of the comments failed to take into account that this story comes from the UK, where the laws are somewhat different to begin with. Even if this did occur in the USA, the arguments against the judge would fall flat. The first amendment only guarantees personal religious freedom, and does not give one the right to make religious decisions for other people, especially when a life or death choice is to be made. The government interferes when a child’s welfare is threatened by the decisions their parents are making, so why should a case like this be treated any differently? To deny necessary medical care to a child IS abuse, and the judge decided correctly in this case.

    I am happy to say that many comments reflected a clear disdain for the blood doctrine. News articles such as this surely reinforce in the minds of unbelievers that the Jehovah’s Witness religion is to be avoided. I can only hope that this case influences some who are affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses to think twice about whether or not they’d let their child die for the sake of “the truth.”

    Thank you Ceders, for once again keeping up-to-date in everything Watchtower related.

  • March 7, 2014 at 9:51 am
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    I’m so thankful the court decided to put this child’s life ahead of these barbaric Watchtower beliefs.

    Whenever I see a case like this, I wonder what the parents must be feeling. I’d imagine a sense of relief. They get to keep their baby without fear of losing the rest of their family. This is all no thanks to those 8 evil men in New York. Seriously GB, can’t you get some “new light” when it comes to something that matters like the life of a defenseless child?

  • March 7, 2014 at 10:14 am
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    “Now I’m out, I’m embarrassed that I was once so controlled by the Governing Body”….. I’ve had those moments too — that, and anger at them for the same thing.

  • March 7, 2014 at 10:16 am
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    Jeanette, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice to a blood thirsty god, it would be a sacrifice to a blood thirsty Governing Body.

  • March 7, 2014 at 10:21 am
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    (holding up freshly purchased clue w/price sticker) This is classic “Cultural and/or New Order JW” behavior; the parents realize they must publicly uphold the JW doctrines, but also realize the paramount medical needs of their baby. Apparently, the UK is lacking the same “medical alert” support system found in the USA where elders and medical coordinators liaison with doctors and healthcare providers? So, the parents leave it to the doctors and courts to force the issue. Oh the horror–no, no. Baby lives, family goes to KH as persecution “martyrs” for the cause.

  • March 7, 2014 at 10:36 am
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    I think the best argument against the blood transfusion issue would be proving its non applicability through the scriptures. The problem is, the “life saving” aspect could justify it to some extent only (more about this below).

    Sacrificing lives (although indeed, own lives, not one’s childrens’ lives) for an ideal or ideology is not something new and there are a number of people who did such sacrifices.

    In addition, beyond the scriptures, there is such a logical question I have in mind : If the Bible shows Peter feared for his own life so much that he denied Jesus 3 times. If God knows this, how would Tom, Dick and Harry do when it’s about the life of their own children ? No balanced people would be able to do this, as the survey shows through the majority of the answers.

    But it’s such a debate that is hard to get to a conclusion, unless the issue can be brought to a conclusion through the scriptures that there is no such application that can be valid today. I can’t say I’m extremely knowledgeable, but I think it can be debated through scriptures against the blood transfusion rule of WTS.

  • March 7, 2014 at 10:40 am
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    suppose all eight member governing body was in a crash and all need blood, would they all die? then if they choose to , god’s channel would be gone. lol dwl

  • March 7, 2014 at 11:22 am
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    I applaud the judge’s decision. This is good news.

    It is simply not right to impose a life and death religious belief on children. If someone over the age of majority wants to refuse treatment, then that is their right. However, I would have no problems with that individual receiving advice and information about their decision.

    Well done, Cedars!

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • March 7, 2014 at 11:56 am
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    Yes they do Anon. These poor people are so dellusional. They are under mans control and
    don’t realize it. They accept what the Governing Body believes to be ” The Truth ” in the bible, which is subject to change of course…. The watchtower leaders have put themselves in a frightning position- Between Our Saviour Christ Jesus and Mankind. Brazen Conduct !!!! Yes indeed.

  • March 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm
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    @JB re Scriptural argument against JW’s stand on blood transfusions:

    The definitive scripture that JW’s use to “prove” that the blood prohibition still applies to Christians (I won’t get into eating vs. injecting, the sanctity of life, or other arguments) is Acts 15:28,29, where it is mentioned along with “things sacrificed to idols” and “from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality.”

    As a Witness, I ALWAYS thought, “See? It is as important as abstaining from sexual immorality!” In time, and upon examining other arguments, I finally had that “A-ha!” moment when I said to myself, “Then why is it just mentioned along with fornication? Why not murder if it is that important?” The answer lies in the context. The issue here, as JWs themselves point out, was circumcision. It was causing a lot of strife between Gentile and Jewish Christians. For the peace of the congregation, it was decided that, as a consolation to Jewish Christians who had deeply ingrained in them a sense of uncleanness in not keeping the Law, Gentile Christians would observe the bare minimum of what “foreigner” in the land of Israel would have to keep, namely, those things peculiar to Israel spelled out in such places as Leviticus 17:10-14.

    It was NOT a statement of timeless principle about such things as murder, stealing, etc. All of this was covered under the “Golden rule” and the “kingly law” of Love.

  • March 7, 2014 at 12:43 pm
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    PS. I know there is a similar tie-in between the foreigner and the need to abstain from sexual immorality, but I’m at a loss to find the Scriptural reference.

    • March 7, 2014 at 4:51 pm
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      Thank you so much Purestrong Heart. There were some further points I was also thinking about. For instance, the sacrifices and the Law in general, would find their fulfillment through Jesus’ sacrifice. Even if we would consider the blood representing life, I think it would normally mean eating the blood of an animal which is dead through the sacrifice – so losing its blood would remove its life. In case of a transfusion, the fact of taking a part of the blood doesn’t remove life from the donor, so to what extent this blood would mean the life ? So even if it wasn’t for the difference between eating blood or using it as a medical means, I think what blood represents is subject to questioning as well.

      Another point I am thinking about is the fact that Jesus never gave directions about the blood as part of his directions. He only confirmed the validity of the Law but it was meant to be fulfilled through his sacrifice.

  • March 7, 2014 at 5:28 pm
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    A strong counterpoint to the blood is sacred argument is the greater commandment of Love. John 15:13 (NNWT), “No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his life (or soul) in behalf of his friends.” Now, Leviticus 17:11 (another text used to block blood transfusions), “For the life (or soul) of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have given it on the altar for you to make atonement for yourselves (your souls), because it is the blood that makes atonement by means of the life (or soul) in it.”

    Surrender his life for another–donate!!

    And, do I want to open the issue: is the soul the body, or the blood? and, if the soul can be poured out of the body–parted from–what greater meaning is this?

    Yeah, that proof-texting is about as dangerous as phone-texting.

  • March 7, 2014 at 6:31 pm
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    It is encouraging to see the results of the survey. Im glad to see that so many of these witnesses would not let their child die. I cant help but wonder about the ones that said they would let a child die. I wonder what would really happen if they were truly faced with that choice.

  • March 7, 2014 at 10:02 pm
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    And what about the fact that the new understanding is that taking blood “fractions” is now a conscience matter? How does that not water down the whole issue?

    • March 8, 2014 at 1:34 am
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      Hi Erik, the blood fractions issue is definitely another point for questioning ! As one of the rules were saying that the blood should be “spilled upon the ground”, even one’s own blood. What ever happened to that rule ?

      Also, about the fractions, I had a discussion about what fractions were considered as fundamental and what fractions non fundamental, so even not all kinds of fractions could be used … I was thinking that it was getting really too technical and the more it gets technical, less it gets understandable.

      There is another reflection I had : I’m convinced that Jehovah doesn’t “test” people like that, asking them incredibly heavy things to do, specially if this contradicts with the feeling of love which is part of us, as His creation. I think that if Jehovah gives rules, they all have a concrete reason and it’s not just symbolic to prove our loyalty.

      I think there are 2 main areas, and it’s summarized in Jesus’ teachings : Loving God, and loving our fellow human beings like ourselves. When we see the rules and teachings they all fall into these 2 categories. On category 1, we see typically that Jehovah doesn’t want anything about worshipping to other Gods or even other life concepts in a way to leave Him in the shadow.

      I think all the rest of the rules are “regulating” our society so that it can function in peace. Even rules about fornication, adultery etc : I don’t think Jehovah has no other concern than two people engaging into an intimate relationship. I think the main issue was social, all the risks, or concequences it could bring, if such relationships were engaged outside marriage. In different traditions, it was probably less of a concern for people, because it was quite common that they would get married even when they are 19-20 years’ old.

      I think that the issues related to the transfusion don’t fall in any of these categories. I think Jehovah would want us to prove our loyalty towards doing something positive, rather than putting us cruel “tests” upon our ways. This would not be a logical prove of loving Him with all our soul, nor would this benefit the social order. I think this rule was nothing more than symbolic.

      Because imagine, if we would imagine a “salvation scenario” of where brother would be “saved” leading a cool life, just being a moral person, and the other one would get there by offering his child … This wouldn’t be quite right towards the second, though otherwise with regards to the positive attitude and integrity, we are all on the same ground.

  • March 7, 2014 at 10:07 pm
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    Thank you JB! Because in all this time and study I’ve never heard of or thought about those two compelling points!

  • March 8, 2014 at 3:03 am
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    The baby was lucky, not yet indoctrinated to fight in courts.

    *** g94 5/22 p. 2 Page Two ***
    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.

    *** g94 10/22 p. 30 From Our Readers ***
    Youths Resist Blood Transfusions I am 12 years old, and I have just read the series “Youths Who Put God First.” (May 22, 1994) I was very impressed by the courage that these young Christian brothers and sisters showed, facing death with such confidence in Jehovah and in the resurrection. Their courage and faith in Jehovah made me weep with joy.

    *** g94 12/8 p. 30 From Our Readers ***
    M. P., United States
    I am 17 years old and have been afraid of finding myself in such a situation one day. Dying doesn’t scare me, but the thought of disregarding Jehovah’s laws does. It would be awful to give in under pressure. The article gave me much strength.
    H. K., Austria
    I am 18 years old. I was thrilled and shaken when I read the articles yesterday. I could not stop crying when I came to see that these faithful children died. Their faith has made me ask myself whether I could, under such conditions, keep my integrity.
    E. A. O., Nigeria
    I was really struck by the indomitable firmness of all the youths mentioned. After reading the articles, I cried a lot and thanked Jehovah that he gave them the strength to face such difficulties down to their death. I can sincerely say that my teenage problems are really nothing in comparison.
    R. C., Italy
    There is no question that these deeply moving articles will encourage all young people who read them. These young ones were all firm in their refusal of blood; at the same time, they could think for themselves and explain themselves clearly. I was encouraged to learn that whatever pressures and tests there are, Jehovah will not fail to give us strength and needed help.

    JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES ARE RIGHT TO WRITE:
    Today, the churches and their ministers have lost the respect and support of the masses. In fact, many people believe that religion contributes to or causes conflict. An increasingly vocal and militant group of Western intellectuals is calling for the end of religion’s influence on society.(w12 6/15 p. 18 par. 16)!

  • March 8, 2014 at 3:31 am
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    JB, I am afraid I do not agree with you saying “the best argument against the blood transfusion issue would be proving its non applicability through the scriptures”!

    This would end nowhere! It would be like the problem of Jesus death: On the stake or the cross.
    Read how the Watchtower answer the question “Did Jesus Really Die on a Cross?” (http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/l/r1/lp-e?q=w11+3%2F1+p.+18)

    Let us science give its time and leave the scriptures alone!!

  • March 8, 2014 at 3:55 am
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    What comments would you expect from JWs? They have the same thinking as Jehovah, their god!! Just an example:

    (Numbers 25:7-12) . . .When Phin′e·has the son of El·e·a′zar the son of Aaron the priest caught sight of it, he at once got up from the midst of the assembly and took a lance in his hand. 8 Then he went after the man of Israel into the vaulted tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman through her genital parts. At that the scourge was halted from upon the sons of Israel. 9 And those who died from the scourge amounted to twenty-four thousand. 10 Then Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying: 11 “Phin′e·has the son of El·e·a′zar the son of Aaron the priest has turned back my wrath from upon the sons of Israel by his tolerating no rivalry at all toward me in the midst of them, so that I have not exterminated the sons of Israel in my insistence on exclusive devotion. 12 For that reason say, ‘Here I am giving him my covenant of peace.

    • March 8, 2014 at 8:34 am
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      Why on earth turn to ‘The Scriptures’ when discussing the advisability or otherwise of blood transfusion? The Bible was written centuries before even the circulation and composition of blood was understood, never mind the practice of blood transfusion adopted.

      The scriptures are useful for telling us something of the minds and lives of the people who lived at the Eastern end of the Mediterranean between 2000 and 3500 years ago. There are the odd bits of wisdom scattered amongst the weird and now transparently barbaric stuff and the Psalms are pretty fine examples of the poetry of homesickness.

      But to imagine these ancient writings can contribute anything at all to modern medical practice is as ludicrous as it is dangerous.

      • March 8, 2014 at 11:04 am
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        Rowland the argument about then unknown medical practices putting doubts upon the applicability of the blood related rules is definitely a valid point. However, I think referring to the scriptures remain key if there is a debate with JW-world on the subject.

        We may have different views about the Bible but we cannot expect someone considering the Bible as a way to follow to accept our view.

        I think the subject matters would need to be kept separate, the Bible’s credibility today, or if it’s just a ancient writing with barbarian Middle-Eastern accounts, could be an interesting point of debate but I’m not sure if it would hit the heart of the blood transfusion issue.

        Believing in the Bible, which millions of people do, is not wrong in itself. Letting one’s child die because a particular “interpretation” of men is being followed, that is wrong. This is why I feel the “interpretation” aspect so delicate.

        This said, I realize the challenge Hakizimana mentioned is a real one. I think, although 10 people might come with 10 different interpretations and personal views on this, upon Biblical references, I think quite a big part of them would not see an issue with the blood transfusion.

        • March 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm
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          That should make it easy, then. Acknowledging the absurd assumption that the Bible is the infallible word of God, we merely have to point out that, like space travel, or even motorised transport, blood transfusion was not known to the Bible writers and thus there is no guidance on the matter. Shepherding, marriage, cattle rearing and agriculture were, however, known to the Bible writers and there are many bits of guidance, and indeed, strict instructions on all of these. Thus, with no specific Biblical guidance we must simply ‘love one another’ by employing all means possible to save a life! Easy!

          • March 9, 2014 at 12:07 am
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            As you said, I think it’s fair to say that there is no evidence that using blood as a medical means to treat an individual is wrong.

            In addition, if we refer to the verses used for reasoning against blood transfusion, it was mainly linked to the sacrifices, if I understand well, and that was accomplished with Jesus’ sacrifice.

            Although Paul seems to make a mention about the Law and keeping away from blood, he also flip-flopped about whether the Law is determinant or not (other things among which these, make me doubt about Paul) …

            Examples :

            Rom 3:31 – in favor

            31 “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”

            Gal 2:16 – against

            15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles”
            16 “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.
            So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[d] Christ
            and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”

            1 Cor 14:34 – in favor

            34 “Women[f] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission,
            as the law says.”

            I guess Paul didn’t expect his epistles grouped and studied in a single volume …

            On the other hand Jesus said in Matthew 15 :

            11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” And I think he mentioned this when challenged about not having clean hands for eating …

            Again, my understanding about God’s rule about not eating blood, which represented Life, should be related to Jesus and his sacrifice. As Israelites made sacrifices and typically the animal’s losing its blood was what really removed life. As it mentioned later on, Jesus’ blood was also mentioned as the price (to the point that the field Judas bought was called “Blood Field”) for salvation. But whatever these practices were, it was accomplished by Jesus’ sacrifice :

            John 19:30, the the greek word “tetelestai”, seems to be translated as “finished”, or … “accomplished”. This word was uttered by Jesus, as the account says, before his death.

            These are the reasons, along with a strong feeling that Jehovah wouldn’t put such a horrible test upon people to prove their loyalty, I don’t believe in the applicability of the idea that using blood as a medical means to treat an individual is to be condemned.

            I also think that any rule God gave always has a logical and understandable motive. Killing is bad – no one ever argues why. Stealing is bad – no one ever argues why. God’s commands are clear, and although in today’s world some of them would require self-discipline, they are humanely achievable to great extent.

            Offering your child’s life, is not …

            Regarding the fractions, these were also unknown in Moses’ time. Yet WTS brings in rules about them. Still, even those should be condemned with WT logic, as I read a very right reflection among the comments somewhere that if the blood should be “spilled upon the ground”, how come it’s OK to use it to extract fractions ?

            I may be completely wrong, in my reasoning, but I guess it would be good for everyone who have beliefs to make their own research and find their own way on this.

            While I was mentioning Jesus’ words in Matthew 15, let me also add this :

            Jesus about the Pharisees –

            7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

            8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,
            but their hearts are far from me.
            9 They worship me in vain;
            their teachings are merely human rules.’[c]”

          • March 9, 2014 at 4:36 am
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            I think you have illustrated how the Bible can be used to ‘prove’ or justify almost any belief or behaviour its readers choose. Hence the vast array of incompatible, and often mutually hostile, sects in Christendom. For JWs, of course, whatever spin they put on the Bible, the motive is never ‘real Biblical Truth’, but control over the mag. distribution force, the global door knocking (or latterday hanging about on the street or at the Car Boot) army.

            Mainstream bits of Christendom tend to follow the broader morality of the day, albeit a couple of generations behind, for all that they claim they are the bearers of eternal God issued values. Hence women priests came along c. 100 years after women doctors and lawyers. I am convinced that we will see women Orthodox and Catholic priests in a few decades, for all that, currently it is against the ‘law of God’. After all, it was only in the 18th century that churches began to question the morality of slavery, as slavery is perfectly OK in the Bible.

            Will any of us live long enough, though, to see a married lesbian Pope?

  • March 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm
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    They claim to have jehovahs backing but yet God dont seem to support everything which makes sence being that they are like the pharasies.

  • March 9, 2014 at 2:55 am
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    JB,
    And again, the REAL ISSUE is not blood transfusion, but indoctrination. Today, if the GB wrote: New light, blood transfusion is no more a problem in Jehovah’s mind (thinking), blood transfusion as an issue among JWs would disappear in a day!

    The reality is that “Jehovah’s thinking” is the problem, not Blood Transfusion:

    1) As a people dedicated to God, our first loyalty must always be to Jehovah. Unless we adhere to his righteous standards, we will not remain sanctified before him. We must not let family ties overshadow Bible principles. Christian elders are guided by Jehovah’s thinking, not by their own opinions or feelings (w13 8/15 p. 4 par. 7; http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/l/r1/lp-e?q=w13+8%2F15+p.+4+par.+7)!

    Note the REAL ISSUE Jehovah’s thinking! Do not fight where there is no battle!!

    Think about these YOUTHS
    *** g94 10/22 p. 30 From Our Readers ***
    Youths Resist Blood Transfusions I am 12 years old, and I have just read the series “Youths Who Put God First.” (May 22, 1994) I was very impressed by the courage that these young Christian brothers and sisters showed, facing death with such confidence in Jehovah and in the resurrection. Their courage and faith in Jehovah made me weep with joy.

    *** g94 12/8 p. 30 From Our Readers ***
    M. P., United States
    I am 17 years old and have been afraid of finding myself in such a situation one day. Dying doesn’t scare me, but the thought of disregarding Jehovah’s laws does. It would be awful to give in under pressure. The article gave me much strength.
    H. K., Austria
    I am 18 years old. I was thrilled and shaken when I read the articles yesterday. I could not stop crying when I came to see that these faithful children died. Their faith has made me ask myself whether I could, under such conditions, keep my integrity.

  • March 9, 2014 at 3:48 am
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    As an active JW in the UK I was always happy to know that a court would over rule this.

    Now I am no longer a JW, I am thankful to this site for helping me learn TTATT and teach my kids. If there was a reason they needed blood my eldest would take it, but sadly my youngest would be subject to his JW father, my ex, he is 12yrs old and I may have to get a court to over rule my ex to save my son’s life.

    Kate xx

  • March 9, 2014 at 4:32 am
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    Kate,

    Yes, it is a comfort that religious freedom is not absolute in our country.

    I continue to be moved by your example. I am so lucky that only my dear old mum is a JW.

    The blood issue was always a source of puzzlement to me. I never understood why a law detailing dietary prohibitions was being applied to a medical treatment that was completely unknown to the bible writers. I believe that I would have agreed to a blood transfusion, and not have told my mum and the witnesses about it. I have never wanted to die if I can avoid it.

    If a witness is ill, do the elders automatically stick their noses into the patient’s care? Would it be possible to accept a blood transfusion and “get away with it”?

    Luckily, my dear old mum’s surgeon was able to operate without blood when she had major surgery decades ago.

    I remember my brother being very angry at a sister coming to visit him in hospital, and berating him for having a blood transfusion. He had a terrible accident on his motorcycle. He was lucky to keep his leg. He never was a witness.

    Apparently, the GB is divided on this issue. I think it is such a stupid interpretation of a law that relates to food.

    The most terrible aspect of this issue is the large number who have elected to refuse blood, and have perished as a result. Their deaths weigh heavy on the backs of the GB. May their God have mercy on their souls. I find it very hard to have any mercy for them.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • March 9, 2014 at 5:55 pm
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    Hakizimana re: Jehovah’s thinking. The Scriptures tell us that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways. The problem with the blood issue is that MEN have put themselves in the position of Jehovah and have passed this on to the rank and file witnesses as if it has come from God himself. Elders have Watchtower thinking; they must toe the party line on this one or they will be removed. But the Watchtower has been wrong in the past over interpretation of prophecy and the like. Should we take the risk of maybe losing our lives, or even worse the life of our little ones? In the majority of cases, with the help of medical professionals, procedures can now be undertaken without the use of blood, and of course this is preferable as it reduces the risk of infection; but in those few cases when the ONLY thing that will save a life is through a blood transfusion should we follow a commandment that perhaps men have misinterpreted? It’s a risk that a rational, thinking person would be foolish to take. Do not be misled, the Watchtower have got mind control down to a fine art.

    • March 9, 2014 at 10:31 pm
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      ‘The Scriptures tell us that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways.’

      Anybody can write a book and say, ‘This is infallible because it comes from God’. I could do it with this comment.

      We write on here about the mind control methods of the JW bosses. The very idea of a divinely inspired, (as in the Bible) or divinely dictated (Koran style) book is, itself, a method of control, and in the cases of the Bible and Koran, a very dangerous one.

      And it has penetrated very deep. Hence these judges, hearing that the murderous blood transfusion nonsense cooked up by the JW bosses, is ‘religious’, feel obliged to accord it with ‘respect’. If the murderous blood transfusion nonsense were labelled ‘political’, ‘economic’ or ‘cultural’, there wouldn’t be this reticence.

      The Bible is a mishmash of bits, written, redacted, transcribed and edited, by countless writers over several centuries. It is not a harmonious whole; it is clearly man made. Much of its content, not surprisingly, bearing in mind its provenance, is primitive and barbaric. Slavery, glorified genocide and ethnic cleansing, women as property and absurd cosmology and history, are just some of its features.

      Most Christians and Jews, fortunately, ignore most of it and conform, more or less, to the morality of the day in which they operate. Even the JWs do not condone slavery, and the 2 witness rule, the root of their pedophile protection, is just one little rule from the Torah which they have decided is handy for their PR.

      It was ever thus. St. Paul was keen to circumcise Timothy according to the Law of his God, but as he gathered more recruits to his new sect from outside Jewry, he discovered that the Law, esp. re. circumcision, was none too popular, so he binned it. Hence the Christian/Jewish split.

      I have diverged a little from the blood issue so will not continue to get going on the Koran and its God issued commands to spread the Truth of Allah via violent Jihad. Fortunately only a tiny minority of Muslims take that barbaric nonsense seriously.

      The wider world of Christendom, even its benign quarters, bears some responsibility for snake handlers, blood transfusion deniers and gay bashers. It venerates the Bible, if only ceremonially, as if it were a Book apart, as if it were not simply a collection of fascinating writings from the ancient world, but as if it were the infallible Word of God.

      • March 10, 2014 at 6:38 am
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        Rowland Nelken says:The Bible is a mishmash of bits, written, redacted, transcribed and edited, by countless writers over several centuries. It is not a harmonious whole; it is clearly man made. Much of its content, not surprisingly, bearing in mind its provenance, is primitive and barbaric. Slavery, glorified genocide and ethnic cleansing, women as property and absurd cosmology and history, are just some of its features.(Most Christians and Jews, fortunately, ignore most of it and conform, more or less, to the morality of the day in which they operate.)—— That is your own view point but not the Bible”s, which was inspired by God and contains a superior moral code (2 Timothy 3:16 say: All scriptures is inspired by GOD) that was not written by some delusional man whose only motive is to impose his own made up ideas as they come by his feeble mind. Of this we can find books written on may subjects from past to present. As for the Koran it was not inspired by God. In order to understand it the reader has to be fluent in Arabic. no other translations has been written in other languages. As for the false body snatchers who pretend to served The God of the bible just like the priest in ancient Jerusalem Ezequiel 8:5-12. 5 And he proceeded to say to me: “Son of man, please, raise your eyes in the direction of the north.” So I raised my eyes in the direction of the north, and, look! to the north of the gate of the altar there was this symbol of jealousy in the entrance way. 6 And he went on to say to me: “Son of man, are you seeing what great detestable things they are doing, the things that the house of Israel are doing here [for me] to become far off from my sanctuary? And yet you will see again great detestable things.” 12 And he proceeded to say to me: “Have you seen, O son of man, what the elderly ones of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each one in the inner rooms of his showpiece? For they are saying, ‘Jehovah is not seeing us. Jehovah has left the land.’”

        • March 10, 2014 at 6:44 am
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          I read the Koran in English. It is available in many languages. ‘2 Timothy 3:16 say: All scriptures is inspired by GOD)’ My point exactly. Anyone can declare their bit of writing as divinely inspired. Have you been on as course in ‘circular reasoning’, i. e. been taught how to implement it rather than to detect it and to dismiss it as invalid?

          • March 10, 2014 at 6:55 am
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            Me too, I read Koran and I don’t know a word of Arabic.

            Also, my question is, when we read ALL scriptures are inspired, what bounderies are put for ALL scriptures ? 66 books ?

          • March 10, 2014 at 7:51 am
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            Hindu, Sikh and Zoroastrian scriptures and the non Biblical Jewish ones? Who knows? Just remember that all my comments are inspired by God, together with all my e.mails, Facebook statuses as well as my ‘O’ Level scripts!

  • March 9, 2014 at 6:35 pm
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    Last July my Father died, he was not a wittness, part of his treatment befor he died was having regular blood transfusions, this did not bother me because it was his choice, what startled me the most was my mother, beed a witness since 1970’s, as she knew the blood was keeping him alive she was happy, i would say to any witness, if you are in hospitale dying then not many would say no to blood, in Australai the HLC can’t beat the coaurts when it comes to children in need of blood, i also heard a sister say that she was happy they forced blood on her son, to keep him alive, i don’t carry a blood card either.

  • March 10, 2014 at 4:24 am
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    Rowland Nelken,
    Thank you for your comments. If at least 1% of the global population could think like you, not “Jehovah’s thinking” made up by a group of people like the GB of WTS, our planet would be a nicer place to live!!

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