VERSUS BULGARIA OVER BLOOD
B Stett (Assisted by B J Kotwall & R Beharrell)
(Investigator 61, 1998 July)
The Watchtower Society (WTS) seemingly backed down to the government of Bulgaria in a conflict over blood transfusions!
In 1961 the
of Jehovah’s Witnesses
which controls the WTS – the corporation managing J W legal matters –
the giving or taking of blood for transfusion an excommunication
On June 28, 1994 the Bulgarian Council of Ministers refused to renew the registration of J Ws as a religion. In 1995 the WTS lost an appeal in the Bulgarian Supreme Court for legal status. The religious activities of J Ws in Bulgaria were restricted. The main reason for the restrictions was the anti blood doctrine enforced by excommunication.
Complaint on the matter went before the European Commission of Human Rights located at Strasbourg.
In March 1998 the Bulgarian government granted J Ws recognition as a religion and the WTS agreed to allow J Ws free choice regarding transfusions.
this and its website
The Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood is an international group of eight anonymous J Ws some serving as "Elders and hospital Liaison Committee Members". Their goal is to make the Governing Body permit blood therapy to J Ws and to concede that this does not violate any Bible commands. Their website had a letter (dated April 23) to the Governing Body requesting clarification of the Bulgarian situation but got no response.
A WTS press
April 27 said:
Many anti J W ministries speculated that the WTS could not maintain different blood policies in Bulgaria and the rest of the world and that therefore the anti-transfusion doctrine would soon be defunct.
Frank Russo, a subscriber to Investigator, phoned the J W
in New York and got the comment:
A radio discussion in Finland involving a WTS Branch-office committee member suggested nothing has changed: "Everybody freely chooses not to take transfusions."
An article titled Living up to Christian Dedication in Freedom in The Watchtower of March 15, 1998, says that J Ws have freedom of choice as "free moral agents".
Apparently the Governing Body strategy is to get every J W to say he independently follows his Bible-trained conscience. Each will then reject blood supposedly on his own initiative!
If any J W does take blood he presumably won’t be disfellowshipped because of the clause which forbids "control or sanction". That part of the doctrine therefore has to change. However, there could still be unofficial sanction expressed as disapproval from fellow J Ws.
Previous Investigator analysis estimated that 4,000 J Ws have died needlessly by rejecting blood. This estimate excluded J Ws who were involved in the needless deaths of relatives and subsequently committed suicide.
On August 3 1996 Sam Perrota of Aukland New Zealand, for example, rejected blood on behalf of his wife and three-year-old daughter after a car accident. The daughter died needlessly. Sam subsequently studied the doctrine, found it to be erroneous, and was therefore excommunicated. The wife, Simone Perrota, then committed suicide. (Outreach Tidbits 1998 April)
suggested the Governing
Body hangs on to their "bloody doctrine" in the hope that "artificial
which can transport both oxygen and carbon dioxide, will come to the
Trials with J Ws started in 1979. But to date artificial
remains only a partial answer:
Theological evidence provided in Investigator has shown that the anti-blood doctrine has no more support in the Bible than the WTS’s former bans on vaccinations and tissue transplants had!