Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick, where a Jehovah's Witness woman and her child have died due to the blood policy
Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick, where a Jehovah’s Witness woman and her child have died due to the blood policy

Is there such a thing as a lifesaving blood transfusion? To some that may seem like a silly question, but it’s something many Jehovah’s Witnesses are skeptical about. Section 4 of their new “history” book mentions the concept while talking about parental custody battles involving non-believing parents:

“The non-Witness parent may petition a court for custody of the child or children so that he or she can control their religious upbringing. Some allege that being raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is harmful. They may contend that the children will be deprived of birthday celebrations, holiday festivities and, in the event of a medical emergency, a ‘lifesaving’ blood transfusion. Thankfully, most courts consider what is in the best interests of the child instead of judging whether they consider the religion of one parent to be harmful.”

In my time as an online activist I have encountered many Watchtower apologists, and their arguments on this topic are always very similar. First, they say it’s their unalienable right to be able to decide to refuse a medical treatment, even if it means their own demise. Second, they say there are most likely better options. In my experience, it’s almost impossible for them to admit the existence of scenarios where a blood transfusion is the only logical option. This mentality is mirrored by the above quote’s use of quotation marks around the term “lifesaving” which are often used as a form of mockery.

Yet, on April 6th 2015 a seven-months pregnant woman in Sydney Australia, and her baby, died due to the mother’s refusal of a blood transfusion. The account of her case had this to say following the tragedy:

“Refusal of a lifesaving intervention by an informed patient is generally well respected, but the right of a mother to refuse such interventions on behalf of her fetus is more controversial…”

Rather than responsibly addressing the clear ethical dilemma that their religious policy creates, Watchtower would rather question the premise altogether and hide behind religious freedom.

The real question, that demands an answer, is whether or not someone’s religion can actually be considered harmful to themselves or others. The answer to this riddle has far-reaching implications, because if it were true any legal systems established to mitigate harm would need to account for it.

Between a rock and a hard place

Many people would argue that this woman was simply exercising her rights. For instance, Sascha Callaghan, an expert in ethics and law at the University of Sydney, said this about the situation:

“This woman had a long-held commitment to the Jehovah’s Witness faith and that’s how she chose to die.”

What Dr Callaghan isn’t factoring into her assessment is the religious coercion that the woman was subjected to. She fails to mention that Jehovah’s Witnesses can be expelled from their organization and severely ostracized for unrepentantly accepting a lifesaving blood transfusion. That’s the reality that this poor woman was violently thrust into. She could save her own and her child’s life, but she could lose her life in a different way altogether.

Clearly, this kind of pressure constitutes an undue influence on the part of the religious hierarchy that is essentially governing her beliefs. It’s extremely unethical to put anyone through this dilemma, but Watchtower stubbornly clings to their destructive doctrine even as more and more avoidable deaths rack up.

Simply making blood transfusions a matter of conscience altogether would do wonders to improve this dire situation. How can one’s decision to die, or let their children die, be taken seriously when they face total ostracism if they unrepentantly choose life over death?

Scan of pages 111 and 112 of "Shepherd the Flock of God"
Scan of pages 111 and 112 of “Shepherd the Flock of God”

 

JW.org explicitly states that anyone they expel from their congregation they consider to be wicked. How can giving no apology for your decision to save you and your child’s life be, in any way, considered an act of wickedness?

Life and love over law

Ethics in the medical community place an extremely high value on life itself. Practices that cost life rather than save it are rightly taken very seriously due to their far-reaching repercussions.

For example, the victim’s obstetricians were said to “rarely see people die, or make a decision that will hasten death.” These practitioners were essentially forced to play a role in an avoidable death – a role that can come with negative psychological consequences.

The community in which the deaths happened was also forced to look on in horror. All of the people who value life over someone’s religious beliefs simply didn’t get a vote. Maybe one day that might change.

It’s difficult to imagine that even with a dead mother and child, a traumatized medical staff and a shocked and grieving community, the Watchtower deity is said to be looking down with happiness and approval. How could such an entity be considered the very personification of love while showing utter disregard for the sanctity of life itself?

A voice for the voiceless

Children of Jehovah’s Witness parents, born and unborn, are powerless to make medical decisions for themselves, so these are often made by their legal guardians. Yet, when the child’s life is on the line, do they have rights that protect themselves?

Dr Kidson-Gerber and her colleague Dr Amber Biscoe wrote the following in an account of the case where the woman died:

“A doctor indeed has moral obligations to both the pregnant woman, and perhaps with differing priority to the unborn fetus. Circumstances where fetal and maternal autonomy conflict, or where fetal beneficence conflicts with maternal autonomy, create challenges.”

Who speaks on behalf of the child when the mother’s medical decisions are blatantly not in the child’s best interests? The answer is: everybody. Simply put, the community that the unborn child is entering into has a vested interest in the introduction of a new citizen.

Yet, Jehovah’s Witnesses want to believe that they have a “kingdom” which is no part of this earth. They see ones who are born into their families as citizens apart. The Watchtower’s religious hierarchy wants to be able to micromanage the lives of these citizens even to the point of influencing decisions over the life and death of children, born and unborn.

The fetus who perished didn’t even have a chance to understand its vital role in the dramatic struggle between the religious and governmental powers of the day. Perhaps if enough people speak up for those who are too young to speak for themselves, they will be able to become neighbors rather than uncomfortable memories.

 

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Further reading…

67 thoughts on “Harmful beliefs – woman and her unborn child perish after she refuses a blood transfusion

  • April 7, 2015 at 1:55 pm
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    The sadness of this event is unimaginable. They are like the Aztecs, self sacrificing over blood.

    If she didn’t do what they want her to do then she would lose her family and friends associating with her, while recovering with a new baby and chemo.

    They are a doomsday cult, enforcing self sacrifice over twisting of scriptures.

    Yet, they allow you to EAT a bloody raw steak! Something the bible actually does say not to do.

    They allow you to take a blood test at a lab. Yet the bible actually does say not to spill your blood.

    They are murderers, just like Charles Manson, you don’t have to be the one to pull the trigger.

  • April 7, 2015 at 2:05 pm
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    So, tragic, but not an unknown issue among JWs.

    This documentary film on “Selling God” is spot-on regarding the longevity and risk of life-span for being a JW due to its peculiar interpretations of the biblical and applying it to medical treatments.

    “Selling God” – selling religion through the millenia [entertaining piece on how theology influences growth–from Roman Catholism’s ban on birth control, Mormon polygamy practices, to JW’s allowance of carnal fulfillment with negative policies on blood, vaccines and transplants].

    And, of recent interest is this streaming-only show on cult groups (The Mole Women of Indiana), although not a carbon copy of JW’s, it does highlight how information control and training members to mentally block contrary thoughts has an impact.

    http://nypost.com/2015/03/22/kimmy-schmidt-shows-the-irrelevance-of-nbc

  • April 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm
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    Hello to all.
    This is too much! What has to happen before authorities step in and band this murderous cult. For indoctrinated persons there is no choice when this barbaric scenario enfolds. My daughter Julia is a seventeen year old captive of watchtower`s undue influence and I am scared. I am also angry that in this enlightened age, these murders are allowed. How many deaths constitute a holocaust? One is too many and make no mistake this is a doomsday cult. How can this happen? Are we still in the dark ages or is it that life is now cheap? Wisdom now wise with hindsight agrees that Hitler should have been stopped after Munich. What will be said about the utter failure to stop watchtower.

  • April 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm
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    Well!!! Another case and another lives that can be saved. I dont know in Australia but in the USA any physician will respect the decision of an adult as far as medical treatment. If she warned the doctors about his beliefs as far as blood is concerned the whole Hospital have complied with her decision. Her brothers and sisters as of this time they are saying that she expired due to her loyalty to their God. Non JW like myself have a job to do and is to pray for this organization, today there is some lifes that ended and tomorrow we dont know. One thing for a fact is that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and we as his creatures are capable to see for our such brothers and sisters regardless of their beliefs having in mind that love exceeds faith and hope!

  • April 7, 2015 at 3:01 pm
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    How sad. She killed her unborn child by making a decision for the child. Trouble is, the fetus would not have “eaten” the blood because most things in the blood are isolated from the fetus. Does this count the nutrients, too? And, the injunction of not eating blood had nothing to do with blood transfusions. The Watchtower is adding this meaning onto the scripture. Sadder still, there was a time when blood transfusions were allowed. A similar flip-flopping occurred with respect to organ transplants, so it isn’t surprising. Besides, all they would have to do to change this is to declare “more light” to their flock.

    • April 7, 2015 at 3:54 pm
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      good point

  • April 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm
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    It’s very very sad. No doubt the Watchtower Society will hail this as a victory, another martyr for Jehovah, but is it really?
    Is it really a victory if, as an organization, your holding a spiritual gun to that person’s head?
    Officially Jehovah’s witnesses are taught that it is a matter for their own conscience to consider if they’ll choose to accept a blood fractions or not, my question to the Watchtower Society is this. . .how many fractions can I have at any one given time?
    Of course accepting all the fractions simultaneously would constitute a whole blood transfusion, therefore a blood transfusion has to be, according to your own reasoning, a matter of conscience.
    Watchtower without doubt has a responsibility in these two deaths, and even more so considering its previous stance regarding organ transplants, inoculations, and sterilisation. It is very very sad indeed and it is not to be applauded Watchtower.

  • April 7, 2015 at 3:52 pm
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    How is this not out and out murder by this woman! If you want to die fine but that baby did not even have a chance! They have got to be stopped!

  • April 7, 2015 at 3:53 pm
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    I think the bigger issue here is that her choice was responsible for the death of her child. It is one thing for her to choice to forgo a medical procedure knowing that it very well could result in her death. This is her choice. Not so well a child unborn or not is involved.

  • April 7, 2015 at 4:10 pm
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    For those who may be wrestling with their conscience regarding blood transfusions, is it not correct that God allowed a man to shed his blood to save another’s life?
    Considering the biblical injunction not to eat blood and its context and considering no one dies from donating blood could it be a matter of conscience?, without doubt (in my mind) the Watchtower has got the blood policy wrong.

  • April 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm
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    I am heart sick over this decision. I personally feel this is suicide and murder. Shame on the governing body. I don’t know how they sleep at night. On judgement day they will get their just reward.

  • April 7, 2015 at 5:30 pm
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    As a Medical Lab Technician, I can assure you that there are, in fact, situations where only a blood transfusion will save your life. This woman had leukemia. This often leads to anemia and eventually organ shut-down due to lack of oxygen or even a heart attack as the heart labors to deliver what red cells it can to the body’s organs.

    The Society treats this issue as if it’s simply a lack of sound judgment, as if doctors could save patient’s lives but can’t be bothered to use another treatment. This is just crap. Nothing, as of yet, can replace blood. Reports suggest that a British organization may have discovered a way to clone red cells, which might be acceptable to JWs. But we aren’t quite there yet. If your hemoglobin drops too low, you die. That’s it.

    There are hospitals that are awfully quick to give blood transfusions. That’s true. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t necessary in life threatening situations.

  • April 7, 2015 at 6:08 pm
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    Such a waste of life for the Watchtower God.

    In the “What Does the Bible Really Teach” book on page 133 on the topic of blood it quotes the Apostle Paul when it says “If we diligently fulfill this responsibility, we will be able to say, as did the apostle Paul: “I am clean from the blood of all men, for I have not held back from telling you all the counsel of God.”

    Think about it. Was the apostle Paul “free from the blood of all men?” like he said about himself? This is what the Insight book Vol. 2 on page 586 under Paul, Persecution, Conversion, Early Ministry:

    “The Biblical record introduces Saul, or Paul, as the “young man” at whose feet the false witnesses who stoned Christ’s disciple Stephen laid their outer garments. (Ac. 6:13; 7:58) Paul approved of the murder of Stephen and, because of misdirected zeal for tradition, began a campaign of vicious persecution against Christ’s followers. When they were to be executed, he voted against them. At the time of their trial in synagogues, he endeavored to force them to recant. He extended his persecution to cities other than Jerusalem and even procured written authorization from the high priest to search out disciples of Christ as far N as Damascus, in Syria, and to bind them and bring them to Jerusalem, probably for trial by the Sanhedrin. – Ac. 8:1, 3; 9:1,2; 26:10, 11; Ga. 1:13,14″.

    On the same page in the Insight book it says “Arriving in Jerusalem (perhaps in 36 C.E.;the three years mentioned at Galatians 1:18 possibly meaning parts of three years), Paul found that the brothers there did not believe that he was a disciple. However, “Barnabas came to his aid and led him to the apostles,” evidently Peter and “James the brother of the Lord.”

    My words now:

    So, this was only 3 years after Jesus supposedly died and was resurrected and went to heaven. How could it be true then that Paul went traveling all over the world to all these different congregations that had been supposedly built up around the religion of Jesus Christ in such a short period of time with all the persecution of the Christians that was supposedly happening all around them? Even Paul said that he was one of those persecuting the “Christians” so we know that that religion was being persecuted and even killed for being a “Christian”. According to the Bible, this religion had spread all over the world by that time. How could that be possible?

    Witnesses are giving up their lives over what Paul wrote. What Paul wrote takes precedence over what Jesus said since Jesus didn’t say anything about not eating blood (except for his own blood that is). It isn’t a Christian religion but a Pauline religion that Witnesses are dying for.

    If I was going to die for what Paul said, I’d want to make sure that he was a real person first. Our lives are worth making sure that what we get through the Watchtower can be proved to be true. We only get one chance at it and our life is precious.

  • April 7, 2015 at 6:31 pm
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    The Bible hails the story of a Man God that gladly gives his life up. In the JW faith there are no celebrations other than the celebration of that event. Birthdays are not celebrated, rather they are banned. Life and the great experience of childbirth and a persons coming into existence are relegated behind death.

    The pinnacle of being a JW is to die faithful. Death is a feature of their worship. They are as much a death cult as they are anything. Consider the stories in the Bible, so many of the accounts feature God killing someone or having his foot soldiers brutally killing an unsuspecting nation. Even in the Greek scriptures, it tells the story of Jesus and his brutal venerated death and culminates in the story of Jesus killing most of mankind with their blood up to its bridals of his white horse, no doubt covered in blood.

    JWs face death as a part of their weekly rituals. Make no mistake this woman will be venerated as she reached the pinnacle of JWdom, a faithful death. That is why funerals are such a big part of the religion, any thinking person will know that a funeral does nothing for the dead. However it is a platform for religious leaders to peddle their after life stories and fake promises. When someone upholds the tenants of the religion and it results in death, their story will be told in front of hundreds. However the aftermath of suffering will only be known by a few.

    Truly sad

  • April 7, 2015 at 7:42 pm
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    And yet dialysis is completely fine…

    So very sad.

  • April 7, 2015 at 9:07 pm
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    Welcome to the crazy world of the watch tower. There was a older lady in my congregation who had a illness in which she required regular transfusions. When the elders found out she was promptly disfellowshiped.

    Even when she was reinstated the whole congregation looked at her with disgust every time she walked through the doors. How many people have to die before this doctrine is changed.

  • April 7, 2015 at 9:58 pm
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    I love your comment! This sums it all up. I remember my dad ( big elder) saying it was better to be dead with a good name then alive with a bad one. This is such a sick religion. Your right death is better for them. I think I would rather be dead than a JW. No fun just work. It’s ridiculous!

  • April 7, 2015 at 10:59 pm
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    To make a decision for an unborn child is criminal, yet they are against abortion, I see no difference here. This is murder and talk back radio has been hot here over this, JW ringing up saying we accept alternative medical treatment, and the JW phoning and proudly claiming her faithfulness and obedience to abstain from blood, the resurrection hope was brought up, and was a platform for preaching, some were cut of, the publics disgust was loud.

    The women will be praised for her loyalty to Jehovah, and used as an example, and of course nothing will be mentioned about her innocent baby, she committed suicide and murder, as far as I am concerned.

    I can imagine the JW elders hospital liaison committee there encouraging her to do the right thing by Jehovah/organization/GB

    And the trauma the hospital staff must go through, must be heart breaking, they are there to save lives, pleading for their lives.

    Its very sad but also sickening, makes me so angry.

  • April 8, 2015 at 5:06 am
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    Folks,

    An adult has the right to accept or refuse any medical treatment.

    That being said, this tragic decision was motivated from undue influence. This woman was coerced into a decision that was not truly hers to make. Sure, the literature will say that the accepting of a blood transfusion is a matter of conscience, but we all know that it is not.

    James kindly included the passage about blood transfusions from the “Shepherd the Flock of God” the secret Elder’s manual that many still claim does not exist. Here we see that, far from it being a free decision, their are consequences that are grave indeed.

    There is a real threat of shunning if a person chooses a blood transfusion, so the decision is not free or fair.

    The rights of unborn children is a matter for debate at another time.

    Yet another sacrifice for the WTBTS. Two new “martyrs” for their unrecognisable god.

    May they rest in peace, and may we all redouble our efforts to get this disgusting policy changed, along with so many others that destroy and damage so many innocent people.

    Peace be with you, Excelsior!

    • April 8, 2015 at 9:06 am
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      Kat, if this is true, then nobody in the Organization is being made aware of it and it’s being kept secret from the rank and file.

      I think it’s a scheme to cover the Society’s a**s with the newspapers, if a young child dies and the parents refused blood. The Society can come back and say that they have this form for parents to fill out in case their child might die without blood, but how many parents have have actually seen a form like that if their child is in danger of dying without blood??? That is my question.

      How many children could have been saved even if they had been allowed to take fractions????

      The Society is blood guilty. If a person takes blood, it should be up to their conscience. The Society was never appointed to speak for God and has no business making anybody feel guilty for taking blood and has no authority from God for making them feel they need to “repent” for taking it.

      The Society put themselves in the place of God when it comes to judging whether or not something is approved of him or not and they have no business putting themselves as God’s spokesman. They are presumptuous and arrogant for taking such a position.

      Every day, at least one of Jehovah’s Witnesses will be put at risk of losing their life due to blood and quite likely to die.

      Being praised at a funeral isn’t going to be enjoyed by a dead person.

      In order to not let the deaths of their loved ones bother these people, they have been trained to be psychopaths. That is how they can not let it bother them at the thought of billions of people, young and old, being killed at Armageddon with only themselves living into the “new world”.

      They are trained from babyhood to be psychopaths by all the gruesome pictures of people being killed, whether at the flood of Noah’s ark or pictures of Armageddon. When a child is brought up from young on, picturing the deaths of billions of people, they become immune to the thought of death. The Society even likes to add sound effects to their demonstrations at assemblies to get them used to the idea of billions of people being slaughtered by God at Armageddon.

      In order to not let the deaths of their loved ones bother their consciousness for when they do die for refusing blood, they anestheize themselves with the thought that God is going to resurrect them into the “new world”.

      They have lost all normal feelings and that describes a psychopath.

  • April 8, 2015 at 9:03 am
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    what saddens me even more is the response from the Jehovah’s Witnesses to this story online. I’ve read dozens of comment threads on Facebook news articles where they are condoning this and even rejoicing in it. Arrogant quotes such “the religion is perfect” and “when we see you in the new system we will say we told you so”. This mentality severely saddens me, the leaders who reinforce these doctrine and this mentality should be held responsible. The number of jws that came to the defends of this doctrine is also alarming, such as the article said, many claim blood transfusions are unsafe. But in Australia it’s incredibly rare for contamination to occur with how strict and rigorous their screenings and cleanings are.
    I’m really glad this article was written. More people should read unbiased well informed articles like these and not whatever’s on the jw.org site

  • April 8, 2015 at 9:13 am
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    Like Trey I am glad this article has been written.

  • April 8, 2015 at 11:10 am
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    It’s human sacrifice, but as stated made under pressure
    and not with a completely free will.

    According to the principle expressed at -2 Corinthians 9/7
    it would have small value in God’s eyes .

    The life of the unborn child was also snuffed out, “Aborted”.
    The only saving grace is, it will not have to grow up in this
    oppressive cult.

    I fear for my children and grand children, who are still under
    the control of these religious maniacs.

  • April 9, 2015 at 12:47 am
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    It is clearly apparent that the scriptures do not mention blood transfusions nor the use of blood fractions and must be therefore down to interpretation/conscience. For a religion to enforce a blood policy is undoubtedly unscriptural. What it really comes down to is authority and the belief that the Watchtower Society represents God. . .God’s spokesman.
    However I am lead to believe from the scriptures that they have been completed and God has spoken for himself, through the inspired writers, which the Watchtower admits not to being. They are without doubt spiritual bullies and blood guilty.

  • April 9, 2015 at 5:35 am
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    Thankfully, sometimes the opposite case is true.
    In my country, they interviewed a woman over state TV who allowed her newborn to have the transfusion it needed. Needless to say, she is not a witness anymore.

  • April 9, 2015 at 7:05 am
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    Brother where you bound by Supertramp sums up my hatred for this and other abuses, I can’t say no more:-(:-(

  • April 10, 2015 at 12:19 am
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    what is up with the fact that now JW allow organ transplants and that it is the and their conscience I think it is the same as difference not to mention how much blood can really get out of the organs before they put it in you

  • April 10, 2015 at 3:13 am
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=5DQQxWa_8PY

    This story was in People magazine and friends raised over $300,000 for them on Facebook. She died shock from massive blood loss right after the C-section when she was taken to the hospital with very high blood pressure. I can’t find out whether or not she was a Witness but I can’t help but wonder if she refused a blood transfusion.

  • April 10, 2015 at 8:39 am
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    I hate it when non-JW’s tell me that the JWs are harmless. It’s impossible to continue to have that opinion of that cult after reading something like this. I wish these situations would be exposed more often in the mainstream media.

  • April 10, 2015 at 10:15 am
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    “But you are not to EAT MEAT with BLOOD in it .
    “But you are not to EAT MEAT with BLOOD in it”.
    “But you are not to EAT MEAT with BLOOD in it”. Gen, 9/4

    The repetition is intentional, as JWs, fail to understand
    those simple instructions. When a transfusion is being
    administered, neither the Doctor or the Patient are eating
    MEAT with the BLOOD in it.

    As with many other Bible subjects they pontificate on, their
    reasoning is schizophrenic. No JW would be a blood donor,
    on pain of disfellowshipping. Yet are allowed fractions of blood
    donated by “Armageddon fodder Worldlings”.
    It’s irrational and hypocritical.

  • April 10, 2015 at 10:23 am
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    “Yet, on April 6th 2015 a seven-months pregnant woman in Sydney Australia, and her baby, died due to the mother’s refusal of a blood transfusion.”

    But another woman killing her baby on the next room through forced abortion doesen’t seem to bother anyone. Hypocracy as usual.

    • April 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm
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      Hippokrit, all of Jehovah’s Witnesses know that abortion is murder but you will never see an article in Watchtower publications, condemning it because the Watchtower signed an agreement with the U.S. government that in order to be tax exempt, they couldn’t print any articles that are political. Did you know that? I would consider that to be hypocritical, wouldn’t you?

      It the Society really cared for the life of unborn babies, they could print articles condemning abortion but they won’t in order to put more money into their bank accounts.

  • April 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm
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    Hippokrit, Abortion is another subject, what’s being discussed
    here is undue influence brought to bear. Pressurising sick people
    to risk their life by threats of disfellowshipping and even death
    at Armageddon.

    From reading the posts on this subject I get the impression that
    the contributors are compassionate and value all human life
    very highly. It’s unfair to accuse someone of hypocrisy without
    knowing their views on a subject.

    • April 10, 2015 at 3:17 pm
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      @Hippokrit. Can you Spell HYPOCRISY properly as you seem to accuse people of it quite freely !!
      I’ll Give you a FEW Examples of HYPROCISY:
      1)How about the JW Lives LOST due to Organ Transplants being condemned from 1967 to 1980 & called CANNIBALISM!!
      2) how about JW Lives lost because of Vaccinations being condemned in the 1930s& 1940s
      3) how about JW Lives lost because Blood Fracttions banned from 1962 to 2000 but now allowed
      4) Blood FractIons come from DONATED BLOOD from worldly People so Hemoglobin(Severe Anaemia)Factor 8,(treatment for Hemophiliacs)Albumin(Treatment for breast cancer victims) etc,etc All Life threatening illnesses!!
      So JWs are quite happy to make use of Kind Worldly People’s Blood Donations to improve their Lives but JWs aren’t willing to Donate Blood to help others!! HYPROCISY!!!!
      5) Don’t go to University to train to be a Doctor BUT Quite Happy to use these Doctors to Save their Lives & their Loved Ones !!’ HYPROCISY
      Hippokrit PLEASE GET A BRAIN!!!

      • April 11, 2015 at 12:33 am
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        First – I am not a Wathtower witness nor a Jehovahs witness’ witness. I am simply trying to be a true Jehovahs witness.

        To me the Watchtower witness’ “governing body” are the perfect reflection of the Pharisees as they preach one thing and practise another.

  • April 10, 2015 at 4:21 pm
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    Pickled Brain, let me add to your list that when my brother passed away at eleven years of age due to no blood, my mother took her life a few years later. She couldn’t live with what had happened to my brother.
    Sad thing is there was no encouragement from the congregation or elders, ever, while she was battling with her depression/nervous breakdown due to what watchtower put her through.Not even a sympathy card from the congregation or watchtower headquarters. But she did get a huge funeral in the hall where no one gave a dam to know her or the rest of us. Not one visit from any of the morons while she was alive ever.
    This cult has taken many lives.

    • April 10, 2015 at 5:45 pm
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      Label licker, Witnesses are too busy spreading the “good news” about billions being destroyed at Armageddon to give a sh*t about what anybody is going through. It’s only when a person is going through something like what your family went through for a person to realize how fake all the “love” really is and even that isn’t enough to wake up most of them. Unfortunately a lot of us wasted our lives on this crappy organization and had to get old to realize we had no real friends or family in the organization. Our real families and friends are not in the Organization and never were.

      If anybody is coming on here and is young, please do some serious research before wasting your lives in this religion. It isn’t worth it. The Organization is nothing but no fun and lies, lies, lies, lies.

    • April 10, 2015 at 9:16 pm
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      Label licker, that is so tragic! The funeral was probably just another opportunity to preach their sanguine nonsense. Every time I hear something like this it makes me more determined to do whatever I can to destroy this cult!

      • April 11, 2015 at 3:25 am
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        @label licker. I empathise with you. I had a good friend who was an Elder who committed suicide.He stepped down from pioneering & felt like he had let JEHOVAH down & the congregation & his Family.Got severely depressed & took his own life. Very very SAD!!

  • April 11, 2015 at 4:26 am
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    Its about time the Watchtower makes this at least a conscience matter. I doubt they will lift the ban outright due to fear of litigation.

  • April 11, 2015 at 11:49 am
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    James. I totally agree, the blood doctrine should be left to the
    individuals own conscience. But isn’t it wicked and perverse that
    this should depend on the whim of vacillating and imperfect men
    giving us the go ahead to exercise what is, a natural human right ?
    This is nothing less than mental and emotional slavery !

    “The Conscience of Humanity is the Foundation of all Law”.

    That principle was established at the Nazi war criminals trial.
    The defendants, ( On trial for Genocide,) put up a defence of
    “Obeying Superior Orders”, but it didn’t succeed, they were hung.

    It was ruled, “That when Superior Orders are Cruel and Inhuman”
    they are Unlawful and that is when the individuals conscience
    should take over.

    Death resulting from denial of medical treatment is both cruel
    and inhuman. And if there is to be a day of judgement,
    will the excuse “I was obeying “Superior orders” exonerate us”?

  • April 11, 2015 at 7:11 pm
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    @Hippokrit. All of Jehovah’s Witnesses know that abortion is murder. Getting involved in any kind of protests against it would get you disfellowshipped. Saying that God calls it murder is not getting involved in politics. Just commenting about it in the literature but not letting Witnesses get involved in the political side is only telling Jehovah’s Witnesses that they should have abortions. If the Society really cared about unborn babies being aborted, they’d let us get involved in protests but they won’t let that happen because of their tax exempt status.

    The Watchtower is tax exempt and for that reason they can’t make any political statements against abortion. All they can do is discourage it.

    You have no idea how much I have wanted to get involved in protests involving abortion but if I did, I’d get disfellowshipped for it.

    When you made the comment that in the next room from somebody dying from refusing blood but somebody is having an abortion and we don’t care about it, is simply ludicrous. Where in the world did you ever get that idea?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz7Xt6hQ5PI&feature=player_detailpage

    • April 12, 2015 at 12:44 pm
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      I meant to say in the above comment that the Watchtower is only telling Jehovah’s Witnesses that they should not get abortions. I should not have said that they were telling Witnesses to get abortions.

  • April 13, 2015 at 6:25 am
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    A very well-written and reasoned article. Your point about the supposed “wickedness” of someone choosing to save their life, and that of their unborn child, is very powerful. I was sufficiently concerned by ethicist Sascha Callaghan’s comment in the Australian media that JWs’ anti-blood stance is “thoughtful” to email her and explain that JWs are usually unable to explain or justify the reason for their stance. JWs face coercion and are assailed with propaganda; ultimately they don’t reason or think — they obey. I referred her to Osamu Muramoto’s series of articles in Journal of Medical Ethics (downloadable) on the level of coercion JWs face on this issue. She has not replied.

  • April 14, 2015 at 11:07 pm
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    There’s a lot that needs to change before any of this will change. People need to recognize that psychological abuse and traumatic religious abuse are serious problems and that ostracism is the worst thing you can do to a human being. They also need to understand that religious abuse follows the same pattern as spousal abuse. First the victim is isolated to the organization so that when they disfellowship, they leave the victim utterly alone and vulnerable, giving them undue influence over the victim. But I’m experiencing something a little different. It’s kind of a pre-disfellowship shunning in an effort to get me to return to meeting attendance at the Kingdom Hall and to give my psychologically abusive husband more power and control. As someone leaving not only JW, but religion in general, I can say that these people’s minds are in bondage but they remain completely unaware of it. I am one of those people and I’m shocked by how strongly I ignored my own instincts in favor of organizational direction. My husband was, psychologically, “in” even deeper than I was. He told me he would obey the organization even if it went contrary to justice for an innocent person. How does an organization get someone to ignore what they know to be right? Undue influence over someone they have first of all isolated into maintaining solely JW associations, that’s how. They teach you to make your entire social network, JWs. I don’t think they deliberately do so for the purpose of abuse. They don’t see themselves as abusers. It’s just the outworking of their interpretation of a book about a narcissistic being with magical powers to save them from misery and death. We become like the Gods we worship.

  • May 8, 2015 at 9:38 am
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    Hello everyone. I am new to this website and hope my comments are allowed. My heart broke when I read this story, it brought back memories of a situation long ago that I thought I had forgotten. I was a very new witness back in the early 80’s and was not familiar with all the congregants yet. There was a young brother (I will call him Brother Hastings for this comment) who was a diligent and faithful servant – attending all the meetings with his 4 small children in tow. His wife was a non-JW and didn’t attend the meetings, so Brother Hastings certainly had his hands full! At some point, the sad news of his illness made the rounds and it was discovered that he suffered from aggressive leukemia. Of course, back then there was no blood, no blood factions, nothing of the sort that could be used to save his life so he valiantly refused treatment and got sicker and sicker. The rest of the congregation had plenty of wonderful words of encouragement to offer, you know, “Oh Brother Hastings is so faithful; strong; devoted; __________(fill in the blank).” As the weeks progressed, he got weaker and weaker, paler and paler, as the disease took over his body. But, being the caring group of people that the fellow witnesses were, they brought him a lounge chair from someone’s swimming pool so he could lay down at the back of the hall and continue attending the meetings. He was too weak to even sit, but by golly he could lay down in the plastic chair in the back of the room. Must have been heartwarming for him when the congregation stood with their backs to him while singing their kingdom melodies. Yes, backs were turned both literally and figuratively. He died shortly afterwards, and of course the obligatory commendations were made about how strong, faithful, etc. he was. “What a fine example to everyone!” However, no mention was made about the fact that now there was a widow with 4 small children who were orphans. And as far as financial assistance? Are you kidding? None would be forthcoming as his wife was a non-JW! Really, unbelievable! But wait, before you think everyone at the KH was completely heartless, a group of sisters got together and organized a casserole assignment – that’s right! Casseroles were to be delivered to the home of the widow and orphans – I think about 5 people volunteered so that made up for the heartache of losing a husband/father. I’ll never forget my turn, driving to their home with my casserole dish praying that no one would be home. I was so ashamed and embarrassed! I did not want to face the family with a casserole dish in my hand, the guilt was unbearable! I pulled into the driveway, knocked lightly (very lightly) on the back door and left the casserole on the steps. As I drove away, I couldn’t help the feeling that it was all so terribly wrong – but somehow managed to stay in the WT org for another 10 years. What was I thinking? (I wasn’t)

    Anyway, that episode has always haunted me and I am glad I found a forum to talk about it. This is the first time I have ever spoken of it. I hope Mrs. Hastings threw all those casseroles in the trash.

  • May 8, 2015 at 9:38 am
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    Hello everyone. I am new to this website and hope my comments are allowed. My heart broke when I read this story, it brought back memories of a situation long ago that I thought I had forgotten. I was a very new witness back in the early 80’s and was not familiar with all the congregants yet. There was a young brother (I will call him Brother Hastings for this comment) who was a diligent and faithful servant – attending all the meetings with his 4 small children in tow. His wife was a non-JW and didn’t attend the meetings, so Brother Hastings certainly had his hands full! At some point, the sad news of his illness made the rounds and it was discovered that he suffered from aggressive leukemia. Of course, back then there was no blood, no blood factions, nothing of the sort that could be used to save his life so he valiantly refused treatment and got sicker and sicker. The rest of the congregation had plenty of wonderful words of encouragement to offer, you know, “Oh Brother Hastings is so faithful; strong; devoted; __________(fill in the blank).” As the weeks progressed, he got weaker and weaker, paler and paler, as the disease took over his body. But, being the caring group of people that the fellow witnesses were, they brought him a lounge chair from someone’s swimming pool so he could lay down at the back of the hall and continue attending the meetings. He was too weak to even sit, but by golly he could lay down in the plastic chair in the back of the room. Must have been heartwarming for him when the congregation stood with their backs to him while singing their kingdom melodies. Yes, backs were turned both literally and figuratively. He died shortly afterwards, and of course the obligatory commendations were made about how strong, faithful, etc. he was. “What a fine example to everyone!” However, no mention was made about the fact that now there was a widow with 4 small children who were orphans. And as far as financial assistance? Are you kidding? None would be forthcoming as his wife was a non-JW! Really, unbelievable! But wait, before you think everyone at the KH was completely heartless, a group of sisters got together and organized a casserole assignment – that’s right! Casseroles were to be delivered to the home of the widow and orphans – I think about 5 people volunteered so that made up for the heartache of losing a husband/father. I’ll never forget my turn, driving to their home with my casserole dish praying that no one would be home. I was so ashamed and embarrassed! I did not want to face the family with a casserole dish in my hand, the guilt was unbearable! I pulled into the driveway, knocked lightly (very lightly) on the back door and left the casserole on the steps. As I drove away, I couldn’t help the feeling that it was all so terribly wrong – but somehow managed to stay in the WT org for another 10 years. What was I thinking? (I wasn’t)

    Anyway, that episode has always haunted me and I am glad I found a forum to talk about it. This is the first time I have ever spoken of it. I hope Mrs. Hastings threw all those casseroles in the trash.

    • May 8, 2015 at 9:40 am
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      Sorry somehow this posted twice and I don’t know how to delete it. If some admin can delete the duplicate post, thank you.

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