How the Watchtower Uses Undue Influence to Enforce Its Blood Policy

Contributed by: Marc Latham

Cora and I have never felt better about a visit to the hospital than we did on Friday, March 28, 2014. It wasn’t a routine health checkup for sure, but rather a presentation that, with Cora’s help, I made at the London Royal Hospital. Actually, it happened right in the center of the Emergency Department within a seminar room. Our audience included attentive groups of doctors, nurses and trauma specialists.

Cora and I were there as representatives for both AAWA and AJWRB (Associated Jehovah’s Witnesses for Reform on Blood). Our objective was to share some much-needed information about the secretive world of the Watchtower Society.

We were not the first ones to speak. In fact, my presentation followed a speech by a member of the Watchtower’s Hospital Liaison Committee (“HLC”) titled: “Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood. What to do?”

We were still travelling to London when the Watchtower representatives were giving their talk. The HLC speaker was long gone before we entered the seminar room.

In my introduction, I asked the audience to think about the “Advanced Medical Directive” and to consider whether “undue influence” could ever play a role in the interference with and subsequent autonomy of any decisions made by an individual.

I then explained how the use of repetitive indoctrination teaches JWs from birth that to even consider having a blood transfusion would be incomprehensible “to anyone who really loved Jehovah God.” Yes, that would be the mindset for all JWs should they ever be confronted by a medical clinician informing them that they might need some type of blood treatment.

I reported that the blood ban for JWs did not begin until 1945. The ban includes the four primary parts of blood: red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. A timeline of the history of the Watchtower’s blood policy is available at this link.

I wanted the staff to understand that JWs see the blood transfusion issue as one of their “sacred cows.” They will refuse to discuss with anyone the pros, cons or multiple changes to the Watchtower’s blood policy during the past seventy years. Even a simple, innocent question such as, “Why are white cells prohibited by Watchtower when it’s common knowledge that a mother passes white blood cells to her baby in her breast milk?” would be a no-no. Anyone asking that type of question would be rebuked and told, “That’s apostate thinking.” Someone associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses who persisted in asking those kinds of questions would likely be excommunicated.

I stressed to my audience that when individual JWs are under pressure to decide to accept some form of blood treatment, they also have to consider the advice given them by the brothers representing the HLC. Other JWs will also try to influence them as they continue toward a final decision of “Will I? Or won’t I?”

I also informed my audience about the concessions made in 2000 by the Watchtower Society in the “Bulgaria Compromise.” That was when it became public knowledge that blood fractions had been sporadically used and approved by the Watchtower for decades – a fact known by only a few JWs. The “compromise” evolved into replacing “disfellowshipping for unrepentant blood use” with a “unilateral act of disassociation.” That is a form of discipline similar to the way the Watchtower would treat a JW who joined the military.

I then discussed the obvious questions that arise when fractions could be used – and yet the primary four are still forbidden. Percentages of certain fractions are also considered and compared with the primary four. Those details lead to further confusion and illogical conclusions.

I shared a 1994 Awake! magazine that glorified the deaths of children “Who put god first” by rejecting blood transfusions.

I encouraged my audience to have questions ready for their JW patients when they arrived in the hospital. They should design their questions not to coerce, but to kindly ask the patient whether they feel they are duly competent to make the life-changing decisions they may face.

I stressed to the medical staff that most JW patients will have little knowledge, if any, about the Watchtower’s blood components guidelines.

I shared secret letters from the Body of Elders, highlighting their use of undue influence. That includes pressure put on parents to indoctrinate their children to firmly resolve never to have blood. I exposed the way the Watchtower encourages parents to inculcate into their children the need to remain firm and always say “no” to blood – even if it might mean their death. This was another example of the Watchtower’s undue influence at work.

I exposed the truth about “confidentiality” and how Watchtower and congregations invariably get past those rules to learn what happened with individual JW patients. The congregation is always looking for answers and putting themselves in a position to approve whatever personal choices the patient might be making. Just another example of “undue influence.”

Using the Watchtower’s Shepherd the Flock of God book, I showed that JWs are still being punished for having transfusions. I felt this was important for the medical staff to know, as they will be responsible for asking patients about potentially urgent need for blood treatment.

I then held a Q & A session with the staff. We talked about “shunning” and why this is very real issue facing Jehovah’s Witnesses. In the past the Watchtower banned vaccinations, organ transplants and blood fractions – and many lives were needlessly lost – but now allows those medical procedures. As recently as the 1960s, Jehovah’s Witnesses would have been disfellowshipped for accepting blood fractions that are now approved!

I also provided some practical questions that the medical staff could use when dealing with JW patients. How could they get JWs to raise questions about their own competence and understanding? How could they get JWs to wonder about their own knowledge and ask, “Do I have adequate information about what I am doing?”

I told the medical authorities to look up the AAWA.co and AJWRB.org websites to find additional medical information about the blood issue. The information on those sites will help them when they have to face and confide with patients about medical choices. We also discussed the involvement of HLCs. I explained how they will often disclose medical information to the very elders who may later hold a Judicial Hearing for their JW patient.

After I gave my talk, it was clear that the staff wanted to know more about why JWs are under such undue influence. I hope that my talk that day will be the first of many. We will strive to help the medical community to understand exactly how the high-control religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses uses undue influence on an individual’s right to choose autonomously.

Cora and Marc describe their experiences at the hospital…

Marc Latham’s presentation at the London Hospital…

Cora took this video of Marc during their drive home after the hospital meeting, as he describes his feelings…

Attached are links that provide more material about the Watchtower’s flawed blood policy. They can used if someone gets an opportunity to talk directly to hospital staff.

http://ajwrb.org/do-jehovahs-witnesses-really-abstain-from-blood

http://ajwrb.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/abstain1.pdf

http://ajwrb.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/WhySomeAccept.pdf

http://ajwrb.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/KM_School_Handout_on_Blood_2010.pdf

marc
About Marc Latham

Marc and his wife Cora live in the Midlands of the UK. They are known for taking an active and informed stand against abusive Watchtower policies through their YouTube Channel. They are now in a dialogue with British government authorities to effectively expose Watchtower violations of the UK’s Child Safeguarding Policy. In addition to their latest educational efforts regarding the blood policy, they also speak out against Watchtower’s failure to deal with domestic abuse and the use of extreme shunning to discourage and eliminate individual choice.


Comments

How the Watchtower Uses Undue Influence to Enforce Its Blood Policy — 43 Comments

      • Please contact me Richard Hofman used to be an JW and could use your expiriance and advice just recently found out about the organisation after constantly asking Yaweh for his Blessing and came across your videos on youtube been inactive sinds 2000 did go to the socalled selebracion of Jesus es sacrifice and found out what i needed to hear to once and for all stop worrieing if i was wrong asked for truth before i went anx were shown and looked for more so please will you be willing to assist a fellow seeker of the thruth thnx Jah s Bessings

  1. Thank you, Marc and Cora, for your excellent work. Bringing this information into the light of day not only has the potential to save innocent lives from this particular misguided doctrine, it also shows how arbitrary the rules are. JWs who have the courage to read this will find that out, and may begin to question other rules. I can tell you from my own experience in another cultic religion that such things have a way of snowballing and setting people completely free.

    • For many JWs this is a subject they no very little about and rely on the elders for information. Who in turn in most cases know very little. Abuses and undue influence are all too common and do not allow the individual to make an autonomous decision. Another shocking story that needs to unfold is the lack of true confidentiality between patient and the medical authorities. All too often the HLC feel they have the right to use this information if it is needed in particular if a judicial hearing is implemented on an individual that decided to have a blood treatment. Thank you for your reply.

  2. What you’ve done here is magnificent! This work may save a life–a life in the here and now, not some proposed afterlife that may or may not be there. I admire your courage in speaking to these trauma physicians about a real issue that can turn tragic at any moment. Thank you, thank you, for helping educate these folks to do their damnedest to keep us alive.

    • Thank you Steph. The medical authorities are very keen to understand the pressures that JWs are under when they have to make such life changing decisions. We feel it is time that the medical authorities have as much information as possible to give them a fighting chance to save lives in the future from this blood dogma. The more they understand what the WT is trying to do and who they are trying to influence the better the chance of helping JWs see an alternative view before they make a tragic mistake that could cost them their life.

  3. Excellent work, Marc & Cora! If something like this could be done in every hospital, what a difference it would make to how many lives could be saved!

    • Isabella you are so right ! The more the message gets out there the more chance we have of giving JWs an alternative view. Something to think about before they crash into the dogma of just ending their lives.

  4. i started sobbing when you brought out the awake magazine with the dead childrens smiling faces on the cover. if just one set of eyes can be opened from this, it will be worth it!! hats off to the hospital wanting to find out more and wanting to know how to deal with a Jehovahs Witness!!!

  5. You are inspirational Marc and Cora. Loved your seminar. Hung on every word. It was great.
    And the applause was spontaneous – I got the distinct impression that it had gone down really
    well. You showed courage and confidence as your audience was on a much higher intellectual level than your average K.Hall! It must have been very satisfying. I also liked the way you shot down the
    Liason Committee for their hypocrisy and lying behaviour.

    • Thank you Mouchette, It is about time the medical authorities understood the true motives behind the HLC. Where the real priority of the HLC is protecting the legalisms of Watchtower ! Over and beyond the life of a human being.

  6. This must have taken a great deal of time and energy so thank you very much for your efforts.

    It would be great if this could be repeated at other large hospitals particularly teaching ones (eg Kings College Hospital in London) . A pamphlet for handing out to medical students at the appropriate stage in their studies would be good too.

    Another idea is a letter to hospital haematologists and the non JW members of Hospital Liason Committees. The problem with doing this kind of thing is the need to both strike the right note for the audience that is being addressed, to be absolutely accurate and to provide the appropriate references to the JW written material. I wonder if this is something thing your organisation might be prepared to tackle perhaps in association with AAWA ? If some sort of standard letter could be produced perhaps individuals outside the UK would be happy to be responsible for circulating it in their own countries. I know that I would be very happy to do so in my own country.

    I was also very interested in the note that you have been talking to the UK government re safeguarding children – if you have the time and it is appropriate to do so, an update on how this is going would be greatly appreciated. This is also something that could be replicated outside of the UK.

    Once again thank you for your hard work!

    • Thank you Lydia for your reply. Yes a pamphlet or other accurate information will be something that AAWA and the AJWRB will be looking at in the future. Something that could be replicated in different parts of the world. As for the Safeguarding Children policy there is much to do here to. Work has already commenced in different ways and now we want to push on with further dialogue with the authorities. For far too long the Watchtower have preached they are doing nothing wrong with their policies regarding the safety of children. All of the “real world” know this is not true as the victims themselves now start to speak up. Thank you for your comment.

  7. I’m so happy to hear you guys shared this very important information with the hospital staff. We have to continue to raise awareness about these damaging policies. Thank you very much, Marc and Cora.

  8. They must be exposed! Imagine the time when new light will tell them to preach that (Leviticus 15:16) 16 “‘Now if a man has an emission of semen, he should bathe his whole body in water and be unclean until the evening.

    Same laws (Moses’) same People (Jehovah’s Witnesses)!!

      • More mind control, more broken families! We will be having divorces on grounds of “emission of semen” in Jehovah’s courts and a different reason in Secular courts! Here is the clue:

        *** w74 11/1 p. 672 Questions From Readers ***
        since the non-adulterous mate’s decision to forgive or not to forgive is the crucial factor in the dissolving of a marriage, what can the guilty mate do when faced with a situation in which the non-adulterous mate has not forgiven him or her and yet will not formalize the dissolution of the marriage before Caesar? The guilty mate could take action to establish the fact that he or she has actually been rejected by the non-adulterous mate. This should first be done before the elders of the congregation, presenting them with the evidence that a definite, consistent—not temporary—rejection has taken place. Then the one whose mate refuses to forgive could seek legal recognition of the rejection in Caesar’s courts, using whatever truthful grounds for divorce such courts will accept, thereafter becoming free to remarry. In lands where there is no provision for divorce, his or her procedure would follow that described on page 151 of the book True Peace and Security—From What Source?

        What a hypocritical organization!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Existea algún enlace en el cual pueda descargar llos videos subtitulados al español? Me encantaría tenerlos.. Sls.

  10. Dear Mark and Cora ,thank you so much for your efforts in enlightening others to the dark world of watchtower theology.We,my wife and I lost a son to leukemia.as believing jw’s it is the most heart breaking feeling to know after waking up more could have been done.If you save one person from this feeling of misery and one life… from hundreds of hours of effective witnessing it will be worthwhile.Thanks again
    from a very ex jw

  11. Hi Cora,

    This is Martin Ashmeade. Do you remember me? I used to go to Hatherley congregation when I was growing up. I had no idea this was what you were doing now. I left the JWs ages ago, as I could never believe it was “Truth”, and only recently have started to understand the real truth about the society, spurred on by my sister’s choice not to have a blood transfusion after losing a lot of blood while giving birth. She made this decision even though she was no longer associating with the Witnesses either, but likely did so not to upset my parents.

    I used to think JWs were misled, but harmless. However, I now have come to understand the full extent of what is going on and worry about my parents and brother, and how I might be able to help them.

    Anyway, if you’re interested, I would be happy to “catch up” sometime, but I understand that may not be for you.

    Either way, take care. Sounds like you’re doing a grand job.

    Martin x

  12. Hello Marc and Cora my name is Terra I live in CA, I really do appreciate your, videos. Please email me a better way to contact you, I would like to share my story with you guys. 86greeneyedgirl@gmail.com I send my love It means. Alot to me to get in contact. With you. Thanx

  13. In the US, physicians are mandated to transfuse children requiring blood if the child is under 18 years of age as 18 years is considered age of consent and a child under age 18 is considered to be unable to define his own religious beliefs legally. Of course, the fight will be on with the parents and there will be an issue of a court order which will be fought by parents. The shunning is very real and is used as a terroristic threat against the patient. Please check out Janet Heimlich who is a journalist from the US who has written and lectures on religion based child abuse and neglect.

    Thank you Marc and Cora for your valuable information. You will save lives. Children can literally be murdered by their parents from medical neglect but emotional death is risked when a child is shunned or in any way is told that they are undeserving of love and acceptance.

    PJ

Share your thoughts . . .