According to Lee Elder, Director of AJWRB (Associated Jehovah’s Witness for Reform on Blood), most Jehovah’s Witnesses believe “…blood transfusions are bad medicine and the equivalent of playing Russian Roulette.”
The Watchtower has so thoroughly indoctrinated them about the potential risks of transfusions, even in life and death situations where doctors and emergency technicians have no viable alternatives, “…that the mere thought is totally abhorrent to many of them.”
These irrational fears often persist for years even among former Jehovah’s Witnesses. One can only guess at how many injured and sick Jehovah’s Witnesses and their non-baptized family members have died from lack of proper medical treatment since the mid 1940s when the Watchtower first introduced their “No Blood!” doctrine.
Even vaccinations and organ transplants were banned or discouraged from the 1930′s all the way into the mid 1980s. Many JWs could not travel outside of their own countries because they refused smallpox and other vaccinations required to get border entry permits. Most JWs (quietly encouraged by Watchtower leaders) refused both the Salk injection and Sabin oral vaccines, even during worst periods of worldwide polio epidemics in the 1950s. That fact has quietly gone unmentioned by the Watchtower in recent years and is largely unknown by most modern-day JWs. It’s noteworthy that Watchtower officers and traveling overseers quietly bent their own rules, willingly getting required vaccinations so that they could travel to other countries.
As Lee Elder points out in his recent article on AJWRB.org, “…it is a fair statement that Watchtower writers cannot be trusted when it comes to the presentation of science. They cherry pick stale statistics that demonstrate both their bias and dishonesty. Their lack of objectivity is appalling when you consider that life and death decisions are made based on this information and frequently those decisions involve minor children and adolescents.”
Lee makes it clear that there are valid arguments on both sides of the question. “This is not to say that blood products are without risks. This includes the vast array of blood products approved for use by the Watchtower Society. The question really comes down to risk versus benefit. If there are alternatives that can do the job doctors generally prefer to use them for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, there are not always viable alternatives to blood products.”
Lee also makes the point that the Watchtower does not always truthfully tell the “whole story.” He continues, “Clearly, the risks are far less than suggested by the Watchtower Society. You can view the Blood brochure online at the Watchtower Society website [JW.org] and see that even now in 2014 they continue to publish the risk rate of 1 death per 13,000 bottles. This despite the fact that the actual risk of death is less than 1 per 2,000,000.”
In other words, as Lee makes very clear, “You have a greater chance of dying from a lightning strike than a blood transfusion.”
Check out the new AJWRB.org website and read Lee Elder’s original article in its entirely as described above. He also includes interesting graphics and supporting references at:
AAWA ANNOUNCES NEW ADDITIONS TO BOARD OF ADVISORS
AJWRB has been around since 1998 and has its own board of directors. Its existence has been threatened for several years and its organization structure has changed several times. But its website has existed in some form since the organization’s founding. In late 2013 AAWA’s Board and officers offered a helping hand and technical support to give AJWRB.org a proper home and a visitor friendly website.
AJWRB’s goal is, and has always been, to educate, inform and provide advice to physicians, attorneys – and yes, even individual Jehovah’s Witnesses about the Watchtower’s blood policy.Other than full cooperation with AAWA’s board and joining us in our fight for changes in the Watchtower’s blood doctrine, AJWRB remains otherwise autonomous. Lee Elder and his fellow AJWRB board members have proven themselves capable and consistent in their fight to save Jehovah’s Witnesses and their families from dying needlessly or suffering complications due to resistance to transfusions and blood related treatment.
Gregorio Smith, independent filmmaker and writer, has also accepted his nomination to AAWA’s board. Gregorio is editor, director, and producer of the film, “Truth Be Told.” We will publish more information about Mr. Smith and his future involvement with AAWA in a forthcoming article. Visit his website here.