I haven't yet commented on the British Columbia case involving the sextuplets of a Jehovah's Witness couple and their need for a blood transfusion. It's not that I don't have anything to say about it. It's just such an emotionally charged issue that it's been difficult for me to address.
In the past two days, two high profile Canadian news periodicals have reported on this story. I thought it was time to bring these to your attention if you haven't seen them already.
Maclean's, February 9, 2007 "The Fight for the Sextuplets"
National Post, February 10, 2007 "Witness for the Family"
It is my hope that this case will bring more attention to the Watchtower organization. It is time that people see it for what it really is, a dangerous, high-control book-publishing cult masquerading as a religion.
As a JW, I had to confront my thoughts about the blood issue every year as I filled out an "Advance Medical Directive"---a card that I carried in my wallet, wherever I went, to direct medical personnel, in the event of an emergency, that I did not want a blood transfusion. I am fortunate that it was never needed. Others have not been so lucky.
Many JWs have been sacrificed on the altar of the Watchtower's blood doctrine. I remember an Awake! cover article (at right) that showed the faces of young JW children who were martyred over the blood policy (Awake! is one of the Watchtower's main publications...you may have been offered it at your door). This cover gives me shivers every time I see it.
Currently, the blood policy is a confusing, hypocritical mess. While I was a JW it was pretty cut and dry: no whole blood, no blood products. Over the years though, as medicine has advanced, blood can now be broken down into various fractions. This has posed a challenge to the JW dogma. As it stands now, this is what the Watchtower considers acceptable and non-acceptable as far as blood is concerned (for more info see AJWRB, a group of associated JWs looking to reform the blood doctrine):
To use a simple analogy, it's like setting out all the ingredients of a pizza and saying to someone that they can eat all the separate ingredients but if you put the pizza together, you can't eat it. It's now a personal decision for a JW if he/she wants to take all the separate fractionated components of blood but the main parts and whole blood are still unacceptable.
Here are the work sheets that JWs have been provided with to sort out what they will and won't accept. (Click to enlarge)
How does the average JW even make such a decision? I have heard from some JWs that many in their congregations are opting to just reject blood entirely because they are so confused by the current dogma, a decision which could lead to their death should the need for blood arise. This is sad to me. I think of my parents and I wonder what they've decided regarding this issue. I hope I never have to deal with this. It makes my head spin.