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.