Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jehovah's Witness doctrine hypocritial

From the Winnipeg Free Press

Thu Mar 1 2007

By Kerry Louderback-Wood

The leadership of the Jehovah's Witnesses publicly declares that followers "abstain from blood" in accordance with the Book of Acts in the Bible. Blood that leaves the body has to be returned to the dust of the ground, according to Leviticus.

Following this ruling led to 22 children being "martyred"-- dying rather than receiving a transfusion -- according to the May 22, 1994, edition of Awake!

So it's prohibited and that can be fatal. Yet, the public would be surprised to learn the leadership actually allows for many blood therapies and have frequently changed their doctrine since it began in the 1940s.

I was born a third-generation Jehovah's Witness. My mother entered the religion in the 1950s, a time when both whole blood and blood product transfusions were banned. If taken, she would have faced severe shunning by our families and friends, as well as God's rejection. In 2005, my mother died of heart failure after refusing a life-saving transfusion to treat anemia.

Following my mother's death, I revisited the leadership's stand on blood. To my horror, my family did not know that in 2000, the leadership began permitting hemoglobin transfusions that could have saved her.

Hemoglobin constitutes 97 per cent of the red blood cell by weight. It is responsible for transporting oxygen to our tissues. Hemoglobin looks just like whole blood as it hangs in a transfusion bag.

So, how did hemoglobin, made from stored, donated blood, suddenly become acceptable? Had the Bible changed? Why didn't members know? Shouldn't this blood be poured on the ground?

Today, the leadership permits followers to take any "blood fraction" made from donated, stored red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets or plasma. To make fractions, surplus blood is sold to manufacturers who, in turn, separate out the desired blood product. Fractions are made from many units of stored blood. Rather than pouring the blood on the ground, I found out the leadership permitted 2,500 units of donated, stored blood to make one dose of a clotting agent called Factor VIII, a life-saving treatment used by hemophiliacs.

Interestingly, Jehovah's Witnesses do not donate blood. Is it not both hypocritical and selfish to accept blood products made from other people's donated blood, but not donate blood back into the common pool?

The Associated Jehovah's Witness for Reform on Blood is a group of Jehovah's Witnesses who have united to change this blood policy so that Witnesses get the medical help they need.

According to their website, www.ajwrb.org, the religiously approved "blood fractions" include hemoglobin (14.8 per cent of whole blood), albumin (2.6 per cent), globulins (1.6 per cent), clotting factors (0.2 per cent), interferons/ interleukins and wound healing factors (1.3 per cent), just to name a few.

Since blood is approximately 80 per cent water, each fraction of water would total a whole unit of blood if combined! The leadership's blood policy can be likened to Adam and Eve being told not to eat the apple; but apple sauce, cider and pie made from it are OK to eat.

The leadership does not make clear that the allowed fractions plus water equals whole blood. Instead, it suggests the allowed fractions are "minute." Is it not hypocritical to say you "abstain from blood" but then in reality accept every blood fraction?
During the 1990s, the leadership repeatedly explained that the decision to approve the blood component albumin was based, not on the Bible, but on analyzing the natural world. They reasoned that albumin was not sinful since it naturally transferred between a mother and fetus during gestation. Oddly, red blood cells also naturally transfer during gestation and white blood cells transfer during breastfeeding. So why does the leadership still forbid red or white blood cell transfusions?

Followers are not allowed to pre-deposit their own whole blood for use in elective surgery. Yet, the leadership permits followers to use their own whole blood or red blood cell transfusions using cell tagging techniques. How can this be?

Apparently, the leadership of the Jehovah's Witnesses wants all to believe its view has not changed. The bottom line is that the leadership touts its infamous "no blood policy" as it proudly martyred those 22 children and their recent actions with the sextuplets.

But, their actions appear to prove they no longer believe in their own policy. If blood is to be poured out onto the ground, the use of blood products and cell tagging should be prohibited. Since this is not the case, why can't all of blood be used to sustain life? The leadership's actions prove its insincerity, yet it stands ready to shun any follower who disagrees with it.

This bizarre hypocrisy would be a curiosity if its effects were not so serious. Fortunately, Canadian judges have demonstrated that they will protect children from this lunacy. But adults and advanced minors die.

Kerry Louderback-Wood, author of

Jehovah's Witnesses, Blood Transfusions, and the Tort of Misrepresentation, Journal of Church and State.

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