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A letter form to notify a hospital that you do not want your child/relative to get blood even though they may have a blood card or be a Jehovah's Witness.  (Word document file 12/19/05)

JW Position on Blood (chart) from the Univ. of Pennsylvania Health System  (11/6/03)

Update: December 13, 2000

Watchtower's German Branch Office response to the Bulgaria/Blood Stance

in Word document form only: michaelbruder.doc

Update: October 5, 2000

Watchtower Pushes Blood Deception

The Watchtower's latest Public Relations tactic is to say that "Taking blood is not a disfellowshipping offense," and that "No one is disfellowshipped for taking a blood transfusion."

A change of doctrine? Not at all. Simply a way of saying, "You take blood and you are automatically disassociating yourself." Which, of course, means that every loyal Jehovah's Witness must shun any person who takes a blood transfusion, because they are "breaking God's law."

One of the first tests of this PR campaign of misinformation appeared in the Times of Zambia newspaper yesterday, Oct. 5, 2000. Click here for the long version, but note a few quotes:

"The doctors were doing everything possible and had put the child on blood supplements. I hope the parents would have a change of heart and allow ... blood transfusion," Mbangweta said.

Meanwhile, Clement Samabona, spokesman of the Jehovah Witnesses' Watch Tower Society in Zambia said the refusal by the parents to consent to blood transfusion was their personal belief and not that of the Church.

"There is no policy in the Church which bars anyone from blood transfusion, it is all a personal choice that anyone is entitled to," Samabona said.

But Jason Sakala, another Watch Tower member, supported the parents' decision. He quoted Genesis 9 verses 4-16 to support his views that the eating of blood is forbidden and anyone who disobeys this is disobeying God's law.

"I am in support of the parents because they are using God's words as their guidance. If they decide to do otherwise then they will be disrespectful to God's law," Sakala told PANA."

He added, "putting one's life ahead of God's law is fatal, as Mark 8: 35 and 36 tells us."


NOTE the two-fold pattern that we should see more of in the ongoing Watchtower Deception Campaign. First, the person or JW elder being interviewed (1) makes it plain that it is HIS/HER PERSONAL DECISION to abstain from blood, not the mandate of the Watchtower organization, and (2) that God's law condemns the taking of blood. To the naive outsider, it appears the person is choosing this horrific decision on their own accord, but it is the Watchtower organization, not God or any other person, that will excommunicate them from their rolls without even so much as a committee meeting to hear their plea. NO QUESTIONS ASKED! We don't have to do anything, you have shunned yourself out of the flock! 

The more outsiders and news agencies see of this sort of controlling deception, the more cultlike Witnesses look to outsiders. Wake up, brothers and sisters, and smell the coffee! - Randy Watters

 

Update: July 8, 2000 from AJWRB

WTS ceases disfellowshipping Jehovah’s Witnesses who accept blood
transfusions – Why?

It is important for us to try and understand the motives for this recent
change in policy. Since the WTS, in typical fashion, obfuscates its
intentions, careful analysis is required.

First of all, we believe that a great deal of consideration was given to
this change and that, secondly, there must have been a strong motivation
for the change to have been made.

It bears noting that the WTS continues to disfellowship unrepentant JWs
who commit fornication, adultery, smoke, use illegal drugs and so forth.
So it is noteworthy that they have singled out blood transfusions as one
sin to be treated differently.

Let’s evaluate what we do know:

1. In a June 14, 2000 statement to the media, the WTS explained that an
individual who accepts blood transfusions “willfully and without
regret…indicates by his own actions that he no longer wishes to be one of
Jehovah’s Witnesses. The individual revokes his own membership by his own
actions, rather than the congregation initiating this step.” This was not
a press release per se but a “statement to the press”.  It is no longer
present at the WTS media site.

2. WTS spokesmen in both the U.K and the U.S.A. have repeatedly described
this as a procedural change and strongly emphasized that Jehovah’s
Witnesses have not changed their basic position on blood transfusions.

3. No official record of this change exists at the local congregation
level. No announcement has been made to the membership. No statement has
been published in official publications. The only documentation available
is the statement to the press and quotations from WTS spokesmen in various
news journals.

4. Circuit overseers have received correspondence from the WTS and are
notifying local elders on their next regularly scheduled visit regarding
the change.

5. HLC members have received a letter that advised them that nothing had
changed, flatly denying reports in the Times and making no mention of the
procedural change.

Let’s consider possible motivations for this change:

1. The WTS is tightening their grip with regard to the blood issue. They
want to make it easier for elders to deal with offenders and have
streamlined the process by making the sanction of enforced shunning
practically automatic.

Such a motivation does not seem reasonable. The June 15, 2000 Watchtower
made significant concessions on the blood issue permitting Jehovah’s
Witnesses to use all blood fractions of the primary components including
hemoglobin, thus opening the door to hemoglobin based blood substitutes
that both look and function much like blood. Most AJWRB members believe
that this signal can be interpreted to mean that the WTS has full
intentions of eventually completely dropping the ban on blood. To tighten
up enforcement of the policy simply doesn’t make sense.

2. The WTS wants to improve their standing with European governments.

If so, then why would they immediately instruct the London Times that
nothing has changed. Would such widely read statements to the press be
consistent with such a goal? It seems unlikely.

3. The WTS is worried about litigation over the blood issue.

This is a real possibility. However, it must be noted that no significant
litigation has occurred regarding the blood issue that we are aware of.
Nonetheless, this procedural change does create something of a legal
firewall between the WTS and those shunned over the blood issue and
perhaps more importantly those who might have lost a relative who
supported the WTS blood policy? The WTS could now argue that is was
completely voluntary on their part, that there were no controls or
sanctions from the WTS although the congregations may have interpreted
their actions as indicating that they didn’t care to be Jehovah’s
Witnesses. This argument seems weak though the WTS may well believe that
this adjustment will place the legal burden on the local congregations.
They may be trying to send a signal to individual JWs that they personally
need to own this doctrine and choose to support it, otherwise they cannot
by definition be a Jehovah’s Witness.

4. The WTS is moving towards additional reforms in the blood policy.

This is a real possibility. It makes a great deal of sense and actually
ties in with point number three since as we have noted, litigation has not
been much of an issue up to this point. However, the WTS may believe that
should they abandon their blood doctrine some members or relatives who
have lost members of their families over the blood issue may sue the WTS.
The WTS may well believe that they must first legally attempt to
“distance” themselves from the enforcement aspect of the blood doctrine
before they can finally discard it.

5.  The WTS doesn’t want elders serving on judicial committees hearing
extensive defense from informed dissident Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Another possibility that cannot be discounted is that the WTS is concerned
about elders having to sit and listen to an extensive defense that can be
offered by well informed dissident members. They are well aware of the
fact that the elders have no plausible answers to many of the issues
raised by dissident Jehovah’s Witnesses and that these situations have led
to some elders’ resigning. This new policy would not allow a member to
defend his conscientious choice to use blood or one of the forbidden blood
products and hence elders, both on the original and appeal committees,
would be spared having to hear damaging facts that expose the hypocrisy of
the WTS’s position.

It appears that explanations three, four and five are the only plausible
motivations for the WTS’s actions at this time and number four seems to
make the most sense.

Some additional issues are naturally raised as to how this new procedure
will actually be implemented. In the past disassociation has been used in
conjunction with participation in the military, voting and joining another
church.

In the first two examples, disassociation rather than disfellowshipping
serves to protect the WTS from governments that would look harshly towards
an organization for expelling citizens who were doing their “patriotic”
duty. With someone who joins another church, it is almost a matter of
formality.

Many of the WTS comments regarding disassociation draw attention to
getting two witnesses to the fact that a person no longer wants to be a
Jehovah’s Witness or having them put their wishes in writing. These are
typically situations where a member is accused of some other gross sin but
doesn’t want to meet with the judicial committee. Perhaps they have not
been associated for some time and simply tell the elders to go away and
leave them alone. In such cases the elders will typically try to get a
statement from them in writing that they no longer consider themselves one
of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Will local elders attempt to get a Jehovah’s Witness who has accepted a
blood transfusion to sign a statement that they no longer consider
themselves a Jehovah’s Witness? This seems unlikely. It’s not as though
the member is refusing to meet with them or has not associated for some
time.

It appears, rather, that if the WTS is serious about trying to use the
enforced shunning of disassociation as a means to deal with violators,
they will be treating the situation in a manner similar to when a member
joins the military, votes or joins another church. In these cases the
sanction is practically automatic.

Essentially, it is the role of the judicial committee to decide if the
member’s behavior constitutes an act that could be categorized as
disassociation. The only exception would be where the member in fact
presents a letter or states before two witnesses that he no longer
considers himself to be a Jehovah’s Witness.

It will be interesting to see how local congregations actually handle such
matters and if they grasp the subtle nuances of the WTS revised blood
policy. Additionally, it is unclear how this policy makes provisions for
those who “in a moment of weakness” accept blood and then later “regret
their action”. The press statement says this would be considered a
“serious matter” but they would be offered spiritual assistance.

This too seems incompatible with the historical use of an enforced
sanction categorized as disassociation. Will the WTS now also offer
“spiritual assistance” to those who regret voting, joining the military or
another church? Will they begin reproving brothers who sign up for two
years in the army and then regret their choice? That seems very unlikely.
In the past the role of the judicial committee has simply been to
ascertain what the facts were, create a record in case the person ever
wanted back in, make an announcement of disassociation and notify the WTS.
Is this a new “kinder, gentler” disassociation policy variant reserved
only for blood cases?

How will elders perceive this adjustment? It may well be that some will
see this as an opportunity to deal more harshly with dissident JWs who
accept blood transfusions or forbidden components of blood. Other elders
may see this as an indication that the WTS is not as serious about blood
as it once was. Others will just be confused. There is likely to be wide
variation in perception and disposition of cases involving blood.

It is almost as though the WTS is washing their hands of the matter, not
wanting responsibility for enforcement of their own policy. They may
believe that purposeful ambiguity is necessary to build a legal firewall.

While it remains unclear what the WTS ultimate motivations for this change
are, what is clear is the need for heightened efforts on the part of
hospitals and physicians to maintain confidentiality regarding the medical
care of their Jehovah’s Witness patients.

Additionally, an important part of AJWRB’s work may be to further educate
both the medical community and Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves of the need
to avoid any disclosure of confidential medical information.

Unless it becomes abundantly clear to AJWRB that additional reforms are
forthcoming with all reasonable speed, we will turn the spotlight on the
unscrupulous methods used by the WTS and its local representatives to
breech medical confidentiality of Jehovah’s Witness patients and coerce
them into supporting the WTS’s blood policy. We believe that we can
demonstrate to the medical community, the governments and the courts that
the WTS and its local representatives have made deliberate and calculated
efforts to violate its members right to privacy and medical
confidentiality.

This is merely one area where AJWRB is prepared to apply additional
pressure as needed. It is our sincere hope, however, that such additional
measures will prove to be unnecessary.

Best regards,

Lee Elder

Update: June 20, 2000 from AJWRB

"Today we received a copy of a letter that the WTS has sent to all HLC committees in response to the story carried in the London Times. The letter confirms the fact that the WTS has in fact instituted the kinds of changes described in this section. Interesting, the letter thrice reminds HLC members that the WTS position has not changed when it clearly has as anyone vaguely acquainted with Jehovah's Witnesses realizes. It is well documented that until now the use of  blood transfusions or forbidden blood components was a disfellowshiping offense requiring the prompt formation of a judicial committee.  It seems quite important to the WTS to try and convince even HLC members that nothing has changed so that they in turn can try and convince anyone who asks that nothing has changed. This entire position is disingenuous."  more

Update: June 13, 2000

In recent weeks since the June 15, 2000 issue of The Watchtower hit the streets, it appeared something was about to change. The definition of what was blood, in terms of minor and major components, was discussed, and left the reader with the impression that they were saying persons would not be disfellowshipped for receiving a blood transfusion, in kind of a "don't ask, don't tell" sort of way. Watchers of the Watchtower were naturally skeptical that this might be another deception like used in Europe involving the issue of voting. (Saying/doing one thing but meaning another to please the authorities.) Initial reaction was exhilarating, but further comments by Watchtower spokesman indicate that there is actually NO MAJOR CHANGE, at least in their "written" policy on blood.  See their response.

A Watchtower Spokesman, Tommy Jensen in Denmark, came out on television June 8 and announced that Witnesses would not be disfellowshipped for taking blood. The reason: They are already allowing components of blood to be used and it all gets so complicated they are no longer going to investigate to see if it was whole blood used or not. 

Further comments by Watchtower spokesmen, however, indicates that Witnesses may be treated exactly the same as before if they take blood. Paul Gillies, spokesman for the Jehovah's Witnesses, who have their British headquarters in Mill Hill, North London, said that not taking blood was still a "core value" of the religion. "It is quite possible that someone who was under pressure on an operating table would take a blood transfusion because they did not want to die. The next day they might say they regretted this decision. We would then give them spiritual comfort and help. No action would be taken against them. We would just view it as a moment of weakness." He said that even if the Jehovah's Witness did not repent, they would not be expelled but would merely be viewed as having "dissociated" themselves from the religion.

The Watchtower's Governing Body is putting a spin on the blood issue so as to appear that they are taking a more liberal stance. There is, in reality, no difference in the way a "disassociated" Witness is treated compared to a disfellowshipped person, though Paul Gilles implies it is different. Another lie from the PR department in Brooklyn. It will remain to be seen if they Watchtower's Service Dept. really does not pursue the facts in the case of a Witness receiving a blood transfusion. It is still forbidden to them, certainly not a major change.

-Randy Watters

The Guardian (UK) Blood is thicker than dogma (July 15, 2000)

Danish interview on RealVideo (Danish only)

Salt Lake Tribune notes no change in blood stance  (7/1/00)

Watchtower's Response to above interview and others (6/15/00)

English transcript of Danish interview

UK Spokesman Paul Gilles interviewed on new blood policy (6/14/00)

Jehovah's Witnesses Soften Policy (Canada)

SUMMARY: In summary of the above Watchtower article, the Governing Body is now saying that blood is still wrong to take into your body, but since blood is often refined into fractions that are transfused rather than whole blood, the Watchtower's Service Dept. is no longer going to be concerned with determining what is considered "blood" or not any longer, leaving that interpretation up to the individual Witness. All this, while at the same time saying they have not really changed their stance: Blood is still forbidden.

The question Witnesses and others are asking is this: If blood fractions are derived from the use of whole blood, which has not "been poured out on the ground" but used to create fractions of blood that can be transfused into their bodies, EVEN INCLUDING fractions from the "four main components of blood," what is the difference? Obviously another way of slinking out of a man-made doctrine that should never have been formed in the first place. Countless thousands of lives lost later, it appears their lives were lost for nothing. "Jehovah" changed his mind, is caught speaking out of both sides of his mouth, and is delaying the notification of this change of policy so as to avoid embarrassment and potential legal action. Thumbs down for "Jehovah."