In Ghana a young boy was found to be anemic. His parents realize that he's sick and they take him to the hospital. What they didn't understand is that their son's illness was about to lead to a blood transfusion, a forbidden act for the Jehovah's Witnesses. An act so reviled that it would warrant these parents disowning their son who was just five years old. Article link.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that blood is not to be ingested. There are some passages that refer to eating blood and they suggest that you don't do it. It makes little sense to pay attention to the passage because clearly a transfusion doesn't include taking the blood in through the mouth. In fact, that would simply make you vomit. There is another reason not to, blood is a hazardous material that can contain many pathogens. If you consider the time of the writing of many of these books (2000 to 1500 BCE), it's like the idea of not eating pork. There are health reasons for not doing this. It's likely that traditions became religious law. But the passage that doesn't include the eating interpretation is Acts 15:29 which says that you will do well to avoid blood, and some other things such as the meat of a strangled animal. This is the passage a "modern" J-dub is likely to hang their hat upon.

The Jehovah's Witnesses crack me up. The religion was founded by Charles Taze Russell , a particularly apocalyptic religious leader. They put together the Watchtower which is a magazine run in virtual slave labor provided by young members moving into adulthood. The magazine is the teachings of the church leadership. In it's teachings, they have predicted the end of the world no less than 8 times in the last century in the following years 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994 (link to source). How does a group that predicts the end of times 8 times stay together? That's stunning to me and says many bad things about the independent thought that goes on in that church. It might even explain why a father would choose to reject his son in favor of his church.

So a father was more willing to let his son die than to have him live through a procedure that was developed nearly 4000 years after the writing of the passages forbidding it. This is clearly not within his right to choose. The boy needs to be afforded with a life long enough to make his own informed decisions regardless of the religion of the parents. The boy is going to be faced with some terrible abandonment issues. But the reality is that this story is going to be told and he's going to be adopted by a family that can't believe what has happened to him. In the long run he is going to be much better off than growing up and dragging yet another generation of kids into the J-dub religion. The short term pain of him finding love and acceptance is going to be much easier than a life of not being quite good enough as the Jehovah's Witnesses teach you to view yourself. We are talking about a religion where only 144,000 make it to heaven out of how many adherents? It may be the most depressing religion that I've ever heard of. To the boy in terrible pain today, your father leaving you behind was the band-aid being ripped off. It hurts for just a moment, but the scar going away and the freedom you have gained is going to be well worth it.

Views: 25

Comment by B. on May 4, 2010 at 10:44am
I've heard some modern Witnesses have different rules about the blood transfusions -- like you can accept blood "products" (ie. plasma) but not whole blood. I have no idea how they justify that one.

There was an issue with this a few years ago in my city -- a 16 year old was refusing a blood treatment on the basis of being a Jehova's Witness. She essentially accepted death as the alternative.. but the government wouldn't let her. At 16 she was too young to make her own medical decisions, so her family -- apparently willing to relent in their fanaticism in this instance -- allowed the procedure. There was a HUGE debate about whether it was ethical to force the live-saving treatment on a person capable of making their own autonomous decisions. I imagine there was considerable anger and resentment at her parents when the girl went home..
Comment by Gaytor on May 4, 2010 at 10:53am
We (Wash State) had a 14 year old who fought for the right to refuse and won a few years ago. It makes me sad... death for a book.
Comment by B. on May 4, 2010 at 11:01am
Yeah.. but I mean, you have to have the right to your own death if that's what you want.
Comment by Mario Rodgers on May 4, 2010 at 11:10am
Let the stupid people breed themselves into extinction, but I can't stand when they insist on bringing the innocent along with their idiocy!
Comment by Gaytor on May 4, 2010 at 11:17am
He won the right to die. I agree with the sentiment, but there needs to be and age/comprehension line that is tough to distinguish. It's a case by case issue me thinks.
Comment by Mario Rodgers on May 4, 2010 at 11:32am
Dying for a work of fiction. Nobody ever died for Tolkien.
Comment by Mario Rodgers on May 4, 2010 at 11:32am
The word "cult" comes to mind.
Comment by Serotonin Wraith on May 4, 2010 at 4:50pm
It is a cult, but just to clear up a couple of things.

They can only disown their child with the blessing of the religion if he was baptized and deliberately had the blood transfusion with full knowledge. They don't baptize them at birth, it has to be a choice of the child, and the earliest example I know of is 9. Still too early, but it shows 5 is very doubtful.

144,000 get to heaven, but they believe all the others will live forever on a paradise Earth.
Comment by Reggie on May 4, 2010 at 7:24pm
Christian Scientists suck, too. One of my favorite actors from the Three Stooges died for silly beliefs. Bud Jamison.

Jamison suffered from diabetes during his later years. He became ill in mid-1944, but refused to take insulin due to his devout Christian Scientist beliefs. As a result, he went into diabetic shock and died on September 30, 1944, at age 50.


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