One of the most effective ways we have found in assisting other Witnesses to analyze the WTS blood doctrine is through the use of questions. The following questions have been used by AJWRB members and physicians in different parts of the world.
If you are investigating the Watchtower’s blood policy we invite you to consider these carefully. Research the publications or discuss your concerns with the elders respectfully, and ask them to help you understand what they personally believe and how they grapple with these difficult issues. You may also wish to discuss them with members of your family or friends as a way helping them to analyze the blood policy and their commitment to it.
- Which blood products can a Jehovah’s Witness accept, which blood products can a Jehovah’s Wtiness not accept and where in the Bible is this explained?
- Why do all Christian faiths [and even the most orthodox Jews, who are dependent on the Torah (Law), read it daily, philosophize to its context, read it in the original Hebrew (so as to understand the traditional context), and love the Law of God more than their own souls] not forbid the medical use of blood? Is it reasonable that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only ones who believe this way?
- If Genesis 9:3-7 presents an “eternal covenant” that is binding upon all of mankind, why did Paul recommend singleness, and why does the Watchtower permit the use of birth control which would clearly seem to be in violation of the third element of this covenant: “And as for you, be fruitful and become many, make the earth swarm with you and become many in it?” Can we pick and choose which parts of an “eternal covenant” we shall keep? If these parts of the covenant are not binding, how can it be an “eternal covenant?”
- Since even a thorough bleeding of a slaughtered animal leaves as much as 50% of its blood in the flesh, how can God grant us permission to eat flesh if it is the actual consumption of blood that is objectionable? Would this not also be a “taking in of blood” to sustain life?
- If consuming blood was a capital offense, why were Saul’s men not executed when they fell to eating blood along with the meat? (1 Sam. 14:31-35)
- Since an Israelite could eat a unbled animal that died of itself when necessary, (See Lev. 17:15) and the result of this would only be ceremonial uncleanness requiring bathing and washing of the garments. Why does the Watchtower teach we must shun those who accept a blood component (not on their current approved list) to save a life?
- Since the requirement that blood be poured out is contained in the Mosaic law, and not repeated in the Greek scriptures, and since Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, why would it be wrong to store your own blood before an operation?
- Jesus was willing to perform miracles on the Sabbath in order to save lives, or simply heal the sick, and he did not condemn the woman with the flow of blood for touching him and making him ceremonially unclean. Rather, he condemned the Pharisees for their legalistic view. Wouldn’t Jesus make an exception to a dietary rule to save a human life?
- How can the Watchtower view the admonition to “abstain from EATING meat sacrificed to Idols” as symbolizing the greater issue of “Idolatry” and not dietary regulation. While at the same time view “abstain from EATING blood” as literal dietary regulation and not symbolizing the greater issue of “Sanctity of Life”. How can they have this dramatic difference of view when the two dietary remarks occur in the same sentence and verse of the Bible? (Acts 15:29)
- Since it has been reasoned that food offered to idols may be eaten, and that some blood components may be used, would a little fornication also be OK?
- Would not withholding medical treatment from your child when death is the alternative make you responsible for the death? How can the death of a child be justified based upon a Jewish rule of food preparation?
- If a blood transfusion is essentially an organ transplant, how can it be viewed as “eating blood,” since no digestion or nutritional benefit accrues? Can it be an organ transplant and a meal at the same time?
- If storing your own blood for an autologous transfusion is wrong, than why does the Watchtower permit the use of various blood components that must be donated and stored before being used by Jehovah’s Witnesses?
- On what basis does the Watchtower use the expressions “sustaining life,” or “taking in” with respects to accepting a blood transfusion when those words never occur in the Bible?
- What does the expression “abstain from blood” (See Acts 15:29) really mean? What does the context suggest?
- Why does the Watchtower have to quote doctors who lived hundreds of years ago to find support for its belief that a transfusion is a feeding on blood? Why don’t modern doctors acknowledge that a blood transfusion is the same as “eating blood?”
- Why do Watchtower writers feel compelled to exaggerate the risks of blood transfusions, and make it seem that they are always bad medicine, when nearly all of the experts disagree? Why don’t they publish accurate, recent statistics?
- Why doesn’t the Watchtower publish statistics about the risks of refusing a medically necessary blood transfusion when non-blood alternatives have been exhausted or don’t exist?
- How does the society go about deciding which blood components are major and which are minor? For example, why are white blood cells forbidden, but albumin allowed, since albumin constitutes a larger percentage of blood volume, and milk and organ transplants are full of white blood cells?
- Why is it that plasma, red cells, white cells and platelets are forbidden when 100% of their components are on the approved list for Witnesses to take in order to “sustain life?”
- Why does the society use ad hominem arguments and analogies like the one about alcohol and blood being injected into the veins, the error of which can be discerned by considering this analogy: “Consider a man who is told by his doctor that he must abstain from meat. Would he be obedient if he quit eating meat, but accepted a kidney transplant?” Why does the society resort to false analogies to support its position?
- If we must abstain from blood completely, as the Watchtower says, then please explain why the society tells us that we may accept all derivatives or fractions of human and animal blood? Is this not contradictory?
- Why can Jehovah’s Witnesses accept 100% of blood fractions and benefit from the blood that others donate, but are not donating blood themselves? Would not giving blood to help save others’ lives, including the lives of your spiritual brothers and sisters, be the loving and Christian thing to do?
- What should I do? My child is gasping for air. His blood count is perilously low. His heart rate is at 200, and climbing. The doctors have told us that without a transfusion, he will die of respiratory distress and heart failure. Blood expanders will not help at this point, he needs more red blood cells. He is horribly pale and listless and with wide eyes, he looks at me and whispers “Help me, Daddy.” Should I let my child die based on the word of an organization that has changed its mind about organ transplants, vaccinations, civil service, the “sheep and the goats,” the “generation”, 1799, 1874, 1878, 1881, 1914, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1975, etc., etc., etc.? Should I let my child die? Is this really what Jehovah and Jesus expect of me? How will I feel if the blood ban finally becomes just one more old doctrine that is forgotten? Will I be able to forgive myself?
- If the American Medical Association issued a recommendation that heart patients abstain from meat, would they mean that those patients should abstain from organ transplants, and in particular, heart transplants?
- If the Watchtower Society changed its mind about blood transfusions, as it has about blood fractions, organ transplants, vaccinations, aluminum poisoning, the efficacy of the Electronic Radio Biola, etc., would you go along with the change, or would you continue to shun Christians who exercised their consciences in a way that differed from your own private ideas?
- If two patients who are unable to eat are admitted to a hospital; one is given a blood transfusion and the other I.V. dextrose, which one will live? Is it not the one given dextrose? So how can we consider a blood transfusion a feeding on blood since there is practically no nutritional benefit?
Physicians interested in establishing informed consent may want to pose some of these questions to their Witness patients. This list of questions could also be enclosed with the article “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Really Abstain From Blood” and mailed to friends and relatives.
If you are a not a Jehovah’s Witness and wish to help. Please consider printing this list and asking the questions to Jehovah’s Witnesses on their next visit to your home. This will help to create discussion that the Watchtower wants to avoid and could literally help save the person’s life.