Each year when my children were little, I would have to fill out a form that stated what would be written on my little ones identification tags, and under the spaces for “name,” and so on was a space marked, “Special Instructions,” and each year I wrote boldly in this space, “NO BLOOD; substitutes okay,” and each year, as I sent each of my children back to school with their forms, I worried, “What if something awful were to happen to one of them? What would I do? Would I really be able to just let one of my babies die? Is that REALLY what Jehovah would WANT me to do?? I shuddered to think about it!!After I left the Watchtower Organization, I remember looking at my children and being so very thankful that I had never had to face “The Blood Issue”; feeling so grateful that my all of my children were alive and strong and healthy. But though I was out of the Watchtower, I still carried the Watchtower Indoctrination within me, and I still held the belief that it was a grave sin to receive blood, and I wondered how Jehovah God really felt about blood transfusions…the very thought of which made my stomach turn…but I wondered if that reaction was not just part of my “Watchtower Programming,” and so I began to take another look at the subject with fresh eyes.
The very first mention of “The Blood Issue” that I could recall was after the flood at Genesis chapter nine. There, Jehovah God tells Noah that man can now eat meat, but that the blood, which carries the soul, or life, of the animal, must not be eaten; but that “it must be poured out upon the ground.”
Okay, so I got that…the life is in the blood, so the blood is sacred because life is sacred, and therefore man was not supposed to eat the blood with the flesh of the animal.
All through the centuries, God’s People, The Jews…The Israelities…always carefully and reverently observed this “Blood Law,” but after Jesus had fulfilled The Mosaic Law, the apostle Paul explained to us that we were no longer under the Jewish Mosaic Law (Romans 10: 4) but under the Law of Grace, or “Undeserved Kindness,” as the Watchtower’s Bible version puts it. (Romans 6: 14, 15)
In the book of Acts we can read the account of the many people, from different backgrounds and walks of life, coming to the Christian Faith, carrying their former beliefs with them. The Jewish Christians, though they understood that Jesus had fulfilled the Jewish Mosaic Law that they had been under, still hotly believed that to eat blood was a grave sin against Jehovah God, and there was much arguing among many of the early Christains on this one issue, so much so that there was a special meeting held to disguss this matter, along with other concerns. We can read about this historical meeting at Acts 15: 19- 29.
If we read the full account, and if we can imagine in our minds the many Jewish Christians who had “come out of” GOD’S organization of those days, the organization that had been directly established by Jehovah God, Himself, and which was a religion that was hundreds of years old, a religion that controlled every facet of Jewish life, it is understandable that they would have the attitude toward blood that they did, and why they were so upset with those Christians who had come from a background of eating blood as if it were just another food, as is still a custom to this day in some countries.
At Acts 15: 28- 29 (NWT) we read, “For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you, except these necessary things, to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!!”
The leaders of the Watchtower took the scriptures from the book of Acts regarding the decision made by the council on blood (circa 1945) and used these to place a “burden” upon the brothers; a new Watchtower “blood doctrine” was put into place that practically made it a “crime against Jehovah God,” and therefore a DISFELLOWSHIPPING OFFEENSE, for any baptised member of the Watchtower Organization to allow a blood transfusion for either themselves, or for their child, or for any of their loved ones. And this unbendable “Watchtower Law” has led to countless deaths, and untold sorrow.
So, again, is Jehovah God REALLY against blood transfusions??
The Watchtower says that “God’s Word is clear” on the matter; that “obedience to God’s Law on Blood” is about “loyalty” to Jehovah. But now that wasn’t enough for me.
I wondered about the “loyalty” issue, and I thought of the only other person in the Bible who was faced with losing his own child out of “loyalty to Jehovah,” when he had a choice to save him, and I read again the account of Abraham being faced with obeying Jehovah’s command that he sacrifice his son, Isaac on the alter of Jehovah.
At Genesis chapter 22, we can read of the account of Abraham showing his loyalty and obedience to Jehovah, and that it was not until his hand was raised, his knife gripped tightly, ready to come down upon his son’s chest with a killing blow, that Jehovah God stopped him from killing Isaac.
I wondered, “If Jehovah stopped Abraham from killing his son, why would He expect all Jehovah’s Witnesses to stand by and allow their child to bleed to death??” I needed to think some more about this, as I believe that Jehovah God is a God of love, and that there just had to be more to this “Blood Issue” that I was missing.
1) God said that, basically, the life is in the blood, and life belongs to Jehovah, so the blood must not be eaten as if it was “just food.”
2) In Acts, the decision on blood to the newly formed Christian Faith seems to me to have been made more out of respect for the Jewish Christians who were horrified at other Christian’s attitude toward blood, even though Jesus had fulfilled the Jewish Mosaic Law.
3) The life is in the blood, and life is sacred, and so it was more an issue of respect for life; that all life comes from Jehovah, and since blood carries the life, it should not be treated with disrespect in any manner.
It all came to an “Ah, hah!!” moment for me as I sat at my in-law’s dinner table one evening. My grandmother-in-law laddled blood from the gravy boat and poured it onto her rice. As I watched her do this several times in utter disgust, I just had to ask her how she could use BLOOD like it was “gravy”!! and she smiled at me and said, “Try it!! It tastes GOOD!”
It was then that I realized that eating blood as if it was just another “food,” as if it was “just like gravy,” was not the same thing as using blood for the very purpose it was created by Jehovah God for; namely, to carry life; to carry oxygen and other nutrients to all of a person’s tissues and brain so that that one might live, because life is sacred!!
Yes! There was my answer! Life is sacred!! To eat blood as food is a disrespect, though since we are not “under law,” this should not be a “disfellowshipping offense,” but a personal matter, but clearly, since the purpose of blood is to sustain life, it cannot possibly be a “disrespect to Jehovah God” to use His creation for the very purpose for which He created it; to perform the very function for which it is intended!
I think of the young Jehovah’s Witness wife and mother that I heard of years ago who lost her two-year-old daughter for want of a blood transfusion, and how everyone in the congregation praised her for “remaining faithful to Jehovah,” but as her grief consumed her, she began to voice her fear to those who tried to comfort her that she had made the wrong choice. After being “patient” with her for a while, the elders warned her that she needed to “stop talking about it,” but she only became more despondent and depressed, and more and more of the congregation began to avoid her.
As her cries increased, she was disfellowshipped, and she later committed suicide.
I think that the truly saddest part of this story is that the congregation then looked to the husband as if he hadn’t “done his Theocratic Job properly,” and worse, they denied him the right to have a Memorial Service for his poor wife, since she had proven herself to be “unfaithful,” and “unrepentent,” and because she had been disfellowshipped, and as such, was therefore not “in good standing” with Jehovah. (No, I did not make up this story.)
I hope that this little article will serve to help you to think on this issue thoroughly and completely and prayfully if you have any lingering doubts as to where our loving Heavenly Father stands on the accepting of blood transfusions before you allow any child of yours to “bleed to death on the alter of the Watchtower,” believing that in doing so you are proving yourself “loyal” and “faithful” to Jehovah God.