These policies have almost no theological basis beyond obscure Biblical commands to“abstain from eating blood”, and certainly no rational basis in science or medicine.
Rejecting a medically necessary transfusion of a forbidden blood product can and often does result in death or disability.
However, failure to observe the Watchtower’s bizarre policy will typically result in extreme shunning by JW family members and friends, and supposedly even eternal destruction by God. Even the simple act of questioning the validity of the policy can land a member before a judicial committee on charges of apostasy.
Congregation elders, and special committees of elders trained in the intricacies of Watchtower’s blood policy called HLCs (Hospital Liaison Committees) carefully monitor compliance among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
If a member accepts a forbidden blood product their disobedience will be reported to the local body of elders for investigation.
Even Jehovah’s Witness healthcare workers who learn of medically privileged information are expected to report non-compliance despite gross violations of medical record confidentiality.
It is nothing short of remarkable that some Jehovah’s Witnesses still choose to think independently, question the policy, and make an informed conscientious choice to accept blood or a forbidden blood product. This notwithstanding years of meticulous indoctrination, implanted phobias regarding the exaggerated dangers of blood, and severe penalties for non-compliance.
The irony is that current Watchtower policy permits the use of 100% of blood in fractionated form, but not specific “formed” elements like red cells. 1
A Jehovah’s Witness can accept all of the ingredients of red cells (hemogoblin, hemin, the cell membrane, etc.).
However, they cannot have them at the same time. Nowhere does the Bible require compliance with such purely organizational policy.
Tami Davis is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who summoned the courage to question the Watchtower’s irrational rules on blood. She is a mother of four, and thanks to her enormous courage, this is a story with a happy ending. This despite incredible pressure applied by her believing Jehovah’s Witness husband.
You can read Tami Davis’s story HERE
Thanks to her courage she will not be counted among the tens of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have perished by following the consistently faulty medical advice of Watchtower writers who manipulate members to act against their own best interests. 2,3,4
Breaking free from the grip of skilled manipulators is difficult but it can be done. The key is taking that first step of starting to ask questions, and thinking both rationally and critically. Giving oneself permission to consider other views and evidence begins the process of breaking down years of indoctrination and mind control. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, it can be the difference between life and death.