According to Awake! magazine, June 22, 1982, pages 25-27:
From the same blood bag
Jehovah's Witnesses

may accept:


immune globulins

Factor VIII

Factor IX

circulating blood

[art copyright Metro ImageBase, Inc., used with permission]

must refuse


red cells

white cells


stored blood

- or face severe disciplinary action at the hands of a judicial committee.

So, Jehovah's Witnesses actually DO take blood, as their leaders permit.

Arbitrary distinctions are drawn by two-thirds vote of their Brooklyn leadership.

[BLIND GUIDES, WHO STRAIN OUT THE GNAT BUT GULP DOWN THE CAMEL - MATTHEW 23:24 NWT - WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY ABOUT JW LEADERS WHO ABSTAIN FROM CAMEL BUT GULP DOWN THE LEG AND THE HUMP? - Does the Bible ban blood but allow blood albumin, blood immune globulins and other blood fractions?]

THE LEADERSHIP of the Watchtower Society has ruled
that Jehovah's Witnesses may take certain components of blood, such as
hemophiliac preparations (Factor VIII and Factor IX), immune globulins, and
albumin, but that Jehovah's Witnesses must refuse other components such
as white blood cells, plasma, red blood cells, and platelets--according to the
June 22, 1982 Awake! magazine (pages 25-27). This is important because
doctors nowadays administer such components more often than whole blood.

  According to the rulings made at the organization's Brooklyn, New York, headquarters,
JWs may even take whole blood that has merely circulated outside their body in a heart-
lung machine, but may not store their own blood in advance of an operation. These rulings
were decided arbitrarily by the sect's leadership. A two-thirds vote on the JW Governing
Body is required to create new doctrine.

  Former Governing Body member Raymond Franz reveals that for some years
hemophiliacs writing or phoning headquarters were told that they would be allowed to
take a clotting factor derived from other people's blood just once as "medication," but that
taking it more than once would be considered "feeding" on blood. Then the Governing Body
voted differently in its meeting of June 11, 1975, deciding to allow hemophiliacs to take
the blood fraction repeatedly. This was communicated to some of the earlier
inquirers--those whose addresses were on record. But it was not communicated to many
others, and the new policy was not published until 1978, when it was mentioned briefly in
the June 15th Watchtower in the midst of a discussion of serum injections. (pages 30-31)

It is not known how many JW hemophiliacs may have died in the meantime, assuming
the old instructions were still in force. For more detail, see the second edition of   Crisis of
by Raymond Franz, pages 106-107 and 358-359.

  As matters stand today, a JW hemophiliac in danger of bleeding to death may take
repeatedly the blood components he needs, but a JW accident victim in danger of bleeding to death must refuse the different blood components needed to survive in his case.

The same month that the Awake! magazine mentioned above divided blood into
components JWs may and may not take, a Watchtower article declared it wrong to let
leeches draw blood, since it is wrong for leeches to eat blood. (June 15, 1982 p. 31) The
did not suggest what leeches should be given to eat.

An earlier Watchtower magazine had prohibited transfusions for pets, banned fertilizer
containing blood, and even encouraged JWs to write to dog food manufacturers to verify
that there is no blood in the food given to dogs. (Feb. 15, 1964, pp. 127-128) Other
articles asserted that transfusions of blood from criminal donors could impart a criminal
personality to the recipient. (July 8, 1969 Awake!, p. 30)

Organ transplants were banned by the Watchtower organization from 1967 to 1980.
The November 15, 1967 Watchtower introduced this "new truth," on pages 702-704,.
JWs stopped receiving corneas, kidney transplants, even skin grafts and bone marrow
from another person. Transplants were portrayed as permanently banned by the Bible,
but in 1980 the teaching was reversed. What of those who suffered or died in the
meantime? A woman in England refused a cornea transplant and went blind. My wife
and I knew JW elder in the nearby Hyde Park congregation in Boston who
refused a kidney transplant and died of kidney failure in 1977. The media never reported most cases of JWs refusing transplants and dying. Statistics are not available, but the
numbers must be significant.

  Vaccinations were prohibited during the 1930's and 1940's, portrayed as violating God's
"everlasting covenant." That ban was dropped in the early 1950's.

  The Bible verses used to promote bans on vaccinations and organ transplants were the
same as those now used for blood. So, the Society's track record makes it an unlikely
choice to turn to for the correct interpretation--especially when someone's life is at stake.

[roadside blood transfusion]
E-mail us: see more information

Adapted from Comments from the Friends © 1993 by David A. Reed, Editor*Box 819, Assonet, MA 02702*Vol. XIII, No 1, Winter 1994 ISSN 1063-7575

For a full discussion of Jehovah's Witnesses and medical treatment, see
-Confessions of a Jehovah's Witness Minister
by David A. Reed

ISBN 1-57392-059-2 published by Prometheus Books

See this book reviewed in JAMA Feb.5,1997 p.425
JAMA="Journal of the American Medical Association"

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