Jan. 27, 1997 Letter to Dan Sydlik

The following letter was sent to a member of the governing body in 1997 prior to the publishing of any information by AJWRB in the hope that it could be avoided. There was no response and the web site “New Light on Blood” came online the following month.

January 27, 1997

Dan Sydlik
124 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn, NY 11201-1698

Dear Brother Sydlik:

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am a third generation Witness who has been associated with the organization for many years, the last decade or so as an elder.

I want to thank you for your years of service on behalf of the brothers and sisters, I appreciate your efforts as do Jehovah and his son Christ Jesus.

As the years have passed, it has become clear that much of what we believed in connection with 1914 has been inaccurate. Recent “new light” about the timing of Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, as well as a “more precise understanding” of the “generation” spoke of by Jesus in his great prophecy are two examples of this.

That the society had made very direct statements about these issues is a matter of record. Representatives of the society indeed often made even stronger statements of their own accord.

I am certain that it took nearly six months for me to fully digest the import of these changes. In the final analysis, I was forced to conclude that if the society could be wrong about these matters, it would be the course of wisdom to consider some of the other areas wherein the society has taken very direct positions.

The issue that I decided to look into was our position on blood. I have spent the last year studying and researching this topic thoroughly. I have poured over the society’s writings, as well as numerous bible commentaries, medical and scientific sources.

We have a serious problem, not to put too fine a point on it, that needs your attention. I imagine that you may already be aware of some of this information, but I certainly pray that you do not have full knowledge of what I am about to present.

In the accompanying treatise that I have prepared, I address this matter from a scriptural perspective. I thought that this was the place to start, but in future writings, I will also address the matter from the standpoint of history and science.

I believe that you will find my conclusions to be accurate, and you will see why such information calls for action on the part of those who possess it. This doctrine is taking a toll in human life, and will likely result in bloodguilt upon those who force the hand of others in what clearly is a matter of conscience.

I realize that you were not part of the initial decision-making process that brought us our present blood doctrine. I also appreciate that all of this presents enormous difficulties for the society.

When human lives are involved, however, the primary concern should not lie in how an action will be perceived, or even it’s legal or organizational consequences. Large corporations may allow their legal departments a wide berth in such matters, but we as shepherds of the flock must have a more spiritual outlook.

The society’s efforts to buffer the devastating results of this doctrine are noteworthy. I am sure that many lives have been saved as a result of changes in the way we view vaccines, certain blood fractions, hemodilution, scavenging techniques, etc. However, we cannot stop here.

I hope that you will take the time to carefully consider what I am here presenting. From a parents perspective, there have been far too many children sacrificed over this issue. I am quite certain that the holy spirit has moved me to bring this matter to your attention, and I hope that you will be sensitive to its direction.

If you need to contact me, you may do so by anonymously visiting the Internet site listed above. For your name enter XXXX, under subject enter Lee Elder. You may then leave your message which I will receive. It will, however, be viewed by others. If you want to speak with me privately, tell me when you will be available on-line E.S.T. I will meet you in the chat room which can be found at:


At the designated time, enter the city of lights, type in any screen name and make up an access code. Scroll down to private zones and type in XXXX. This will put us in a secure chat room where no one will be able to hear our conversation. No one will have access to this room but you and I. H20 is a secure server running military grade encryption software. You do not need to be concerned about privacy.

I am determined to see this matter through, and with Jehovah’s help, I am confident that reform will come on this issue. I plan to have an Internet site up by the end of February, and have the time and resources to put this information into the hands of many brothers and sisters if that is necessary. On the other hand, I would prefer to work with you, and could be persuaded to post-pone my plans if there is a reasonable timetable for reforming this doctrine. I am of the understanding that you are somewhat reform minded, so I have chosen to approach you directly with this matter.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have conceived of writing a letter such as this. We certainly do live in changing times. I hope that you do not consider me to be an apostate. I truly love Jehovah and his son, and appreciate all that they have done in my behalf. Similarly, I have affection for the organization and all of the dear friends. I view my efforts as “loyal opposition.” I really have no desire to be any other place, but I must do what I can to be an advocate of positive reforms within the organization. I believe that this is God’s will for me, and I hope that you will work with me in this effort.

I think that it is most unfortunate that I must approach you anonymously. As an elder, it is clear to me that I risk much by taking this position, and I simply will not place my family in jeopardy. The repressive atmosphere that exists in the organization today is unhealthy, and the next generation of Witnesses, many of whom will be college educated, will never stand for the present autocratic and oppressive arrangement. The advent of the Internet has drastically changed things, probably for the better. It is no longer possible to control information.

The society’s presence on the Web will accelerate the dissemination of information. As an organization, we will shortly be forced to come to terms with our history, and our mistakes. It will be a humbling experience. The process will be painful, perhaps even expensive. The Governing Body may suffer a loss of prestige in the minds of some. But it is the right thing to do. As Christians honesty is not the best policy, it is the only policy. In the end, we will be better, both as people and as an organization. Thank you for giving me an audience. I hope to hear from you.

Lee Elder


Jan. 27, 1997 Letter to Dan Sydlik — 3 Comments

  1. I find something rather disturbing re above. The decision to abstain, a command that is absolute, from blood, has not only benefited JWs, but indirectly has saved countless lives. In order to help JWs, the eminent surgeon Ronald Lapin, actually a Jew who respected the position that was taken, went ahead and invented the cauterizing knife that is now used in ALL surgery. He developed this in California and worked under the most difficult circumstances, even buying pig carcasses and experimenting on his weekends, while his own fellow doctors and surgeon ostracized him and characterised him as mad. But he persisted and Gene Church, the famous writer on the Holocaust, wrote his book about Dr. Lapin and called it “No Man’s Blood” and is one of the most inspirational reads you will ever encounter. Lapin only operated on JWs from the 70’s onward and did so on nearly ten thousand witnesses and claimed he never lost a patient due to loss of blood during surgery.

    Lapin never charged a dime for his technology and when AIDS exploded in the early 80’s and the realisation that the decease could be spread via blood transfusions, Lapin’s amazing invention was finally taken note of and as a result, some fourteen nations actually nominated him for a Nobel Prize in the field of surgical medicine. Alas he did not win. But how many lives have been saved? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? Probably the latter. Maybe you who read this, have had surgery, maybe your mother or father, you brother or sister, or son or daughter? If so in the last thirty years, give some thought to the invention of the knife that was used and also, and this may surprise, the Doctors who worked closely with Dr. Lapin, quite a few who were Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the fact that they were all, particular Lapin, heroes that have saved an uncountable number of lives.

    And yes, to the writer above and his letter to Dan Sydlik, yes indeed, Sydlik knew very well about Dr. Lapin and it would not surprise me at all if they actually knew each other and conversed. That would have been very natural, as I know, since I myself heard Sydlik say that he had an interest in medicine and even said “let nobody ever tell you that you are sick, because if you do, the power of that suggestion can lead to depression.” Yes, I heard things like that said from Dan Sydlik myself. Notice how much of the media emphasises the negative when it comes to well-being, so that they can sell you products. Sydlik spoke out against those things, he was a very down-to-earth kind of person.

    Alas, Dr. Lapin died in the mid-90’s and only 55. But what a legacy he left behind. Perhaps God will remember him.

    Also, I honestly don’t think the above letter to Dan Sydlik above was written by a bona fide witness. That makes the above devious beyond words and hence shame on you.

    For those who want to know more, please use YouTube and search for “bloodless surgery” and “Doctor Ronald Lapin” and get a real education, one that will also warm your hearts, because this is a feel-good story and there are many winners, not just Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Sometimes it takes courage to be proved right in the end. But also keep in mind, nobody is being forced to believe anything, that impression is a lie. Each person must educate themselves and make an informed an decision, something we must all respect very deeply.

    • I can assure you that the letter is legitimate, and I was a JW elder in good standing at the time it was written. I certainly don’t think the WTS position has been “proved right” by any means. There are still many needless deaths, and there is no substitute for blood. It remains absolutely essential in many situations like trauma, obstetrics, diseases of the blood, etc. The fact that doctors have learned how to accommodate the WTS policy in many cases does not make their policy correct. It simply shows that doctors have done their best to innovate and preserve life.

  2. There is no replacement for the red blood cell or the platelet cell. There are several medical scenarios that have no other solution. The cauterizing knife would not help my daughter who survived aplastic Anemia with blood transfusions. You have been fed propaganda by a cult who has been killing people for no other reason than to control and manipulate its members.

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